Threats to human rights defenders should be recognized at Climate Ambition Summit, December 12

Published by Brent Patterson on

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet has both denounced attacks on environmental human rights defenders and stated that the world has never seen a threat as big in scope to human rights as climate change.

You can amplify her statement by sending Prime Minister Trudeau an email message that reflects these fundamental concerns.

The CBC reports: “The United Nations is holding an online event next week to mark the fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement and the pressure is on governments to come forward with tougher climate targets before the end of the year.”

The virtual Climate Ambition Summit will take place on December 12, the fifth anniversary of the conclusion of the United Nations COP21 climate talks in Paris.

Notably, Global Witness has documented that on average four land and environmental defenders have been killed every week over those five years.

More than one-third of those fatal attacks have been against Indigenous land defenders and water protectors.

Under the Paris Agreement reached at COP21, countries committed to a long-term goal of limiting the global temperature increase to below 2C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit it even further to 1.5C.

But a new UN report has found that the world is on track for 2% a year increases in the production of oil, gas and coal rather than the 6% reduction a year decrease needed until 2030 to achieve the 1.5C target agreed to at COP21.

According to Climate Action Tracker current policies put the world on track to a 2.9C temperature rise this century. However, if all governments meet their 2050 net zero emissions targets, warming could be as low as 2.1C (which is still too high).

Canada is the world’s fifth-largest oil producer, the world’s fourth largest crude oil exporter and has the world’s third-largest proven oil reserves.

Under the Harper and Trudeau governments, Canada has previously promised to cut emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.

Using the more commonly used international baseline of 1990, that equates to a pledge to reduce emissions by 14 per cent by 2030. In comparison, the European Parliament recently voted for a 60 per cent reduction from 1990 levels.

Adjusting back to the 2005 baseline, government figures released in January 2019 project that even under a best-case scenario, Canada will only achieve a 19 per cent reduction by 2030 (not the 30 per cent reduction promised in 2015).

The Canadian government has more to do on this front to avert the human rights catastrophe of climate breakdown. It must also do more to uphold the rights of land defenders both globally and on the territories within Canada.

The UN Human Rights Council has passed a resolution explicitly calling for the protection of environmental human rights defenders due to the crucial role they play in protecting vital ecosystems and addressing climate change.

Please join us in calling on Prime Minister Trudeau to strengthen Canada’s climate targets, to present credible plans to meet those targets, and to recognize and uphold the right of Indigenous land defenders to free, prior and informed consent.

You can take action by clicking here and sending an email with this message to the Prime Minister before the summit on December 12.

In the lead up to COP26 in Glasgow in November 2021, PBI-Canada will continue to highlight the threat faced by land defenders opposed to megaprojects that are worsening climate breakdown and underscore Canada’s role to address this crisis.

Categories: News Updates


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