First Ministers Must Deliver Transformation and Jobs
OTTAWA – First Ministers meet in Vancouver March 3 to launch climate talks aimed at finalizing a plan for Canada to meet its obligations under the Paris Agreement. As the Prime Minister and Premiers prepare to negotiate a national climate plan and target, our over 100 members representing faith, international development, environmental and labour organizations are looking for leadership.
To demonstrate that Canada is being responsible on climate change, and to build trust with Canadians and other governments, our political leaders need to show they are serious about moving forward through a process that has short deadlines and sets timelines for implementation.
Canada’s current offering under the Paris Agreement failed to meet the test of best practice as recommended by the World Resources Institute and was rated as inadequate by Climate Action Tracker.
To move from laggard to leader, Canada needs to have in place a national climate action plan no later than September 2016 that includes, but is not restricted to:
- A proposal for having in place a consistently stringent carbon price across Canada in 2017.
- A federal-provincial/territorial legislative/regulatory timetable and coordinated incentive program to increase the stringency of efficiency and renewable requirements for new and existing buildings, vehicles and industry with the aim of reaching near or zero emissions.
- Advancing federal/provincial electricity emission reduction requirements to ensure coal phase out across Canada by 2030.
- Expanding the east-west electricity transmission grid to help Canada move to a renewable electricity future.
- Develop a national climate change adaptation strategy, including climate impact assessments for new infrastructure investments.
- Eliminate all federal/provincial subsidies to the fossil fuel sector beginning immediately and being completed no later than 2020. Complementary to fossil fuel subsidy reform is a review and phase-out of the public financing provided by Export Development Canada (EDC) for oil and gas development overseas, including through bi-lateral and multi-lateral channels. Public financing provided by EDC should be redirected to support export of Canadian clean technologies.
- Have in place by 2020 a national decarbonization plan to shift rapidly away from our high-carbon economic development model to a sustainable development model that ensures full decarbonization of the economy by 2050.
CAN-Rac Canada believes that Canada’s fair share contribution to the Paris Agreement is a 2025 target of at least 35% below 2005 (coupled with international climate financing of $4 billion per year starting in 2020), a 50% reduction by 2030 and decarbonization by 2050. In order to make greenhouse gas reduction targets more meaningful, First Ministers should:
- Enshrine Canada’s greenhouse gas reduction targets in domestic law with implementation and enforcement responsibility clearly identified and assigned.
- Canada’s targets should be expressed as a carbon budget.
- Ensure early action to maximize reductions that can narrow the gap to our 2020 target.
- Put Canada on course to doing its fair share to keep global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius, and pursue all efforts to limit it to 1.5 degrees. This temperature limitation objective requires that we acknowledge keeping global warming to safe levels implies phasing out the use of fossil fuels and a transition to a renewable, decarbonized energy system by 2050.
- Set targets in five-year increments in line with what’s required to reach 2050 decarbonization.
- Ensure transparency so that all assumptions underlying greenhouse gas emissions, projections and measures can be quantified, verified, and compared to other country commitments. Canada especially needs to be transparent with regard to its calculation of the sources and removals relating to the land sector.
We believe reaching our climate protection goals requires all provinces to have a cabinet committee on climate change to coordinate and implement the national climate plan.
Stakeholders and experts can contribute to the national climate planning effort through submissions. Indigenous leaders clearly need to be engaged and consulted through their own processes. The effort, however, to engage Canadians and all orders of government (including municipalities) should not delay implementation. Canada needs to show it understands climate change requires an urgent response. Start now, and institutionalize review and updating to get and then stay on track. Finally, CAN-Rac Canada believes that Prime Minister Trudeau should plan to arrive in New York April 22 having already ratified the Paris Agreement.
For more information, contact:
Louise Comeau, 506-238-0355, firstname.lastname@example.org