For release: March 30, 2007
Environmental groups call on Prime Minister to adopt Clean Air and Climate Change Act
(Ottawa) Climate Action Network/Réseau action climat Canada is calling on the Government of Canada to immediately pass and implement the Clean Air and Climate Change Act (Bill C-30) as amended by a House of Commons legislative committee this week. The amended version contains most of the changes proposed jointly by environmental organizations in January, including regulations requiring our largest polluters to face “Kyoto-level” caps on their greenhouse gas emissions.
“This is a moment of truth for government. We now have a bill that puts us on the right path to honouring our Kyoto obligations, with stronger targets for heavy industry, energy efficiency and long-term greenhouse gas reductions for Canada,” said John Bennett, Executive Director of the Climate Action Network/Réseau action climat Canada. “This is government's chance to prove it is taking the climate crisis seriously by respecting the democratic process and implementing this historic bill immediately.”
When the government introduced Bill C-30 last October, it was quickly condemned as inadequate by environmental organizations, opposition Members of Parliament and the public. The proposed timelines and targets that accompanied the bill would have delayed action on global warming for years. In addition, the original bill could have served to weaken the government's power to regulate greenhouse gases under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. In light of the negative reaction to the original bill, the Prime Minister accepted a suggestion from NDP leader Jack Layton to create a legislative committee to reconsider and rewrite it.
Environmental and health organizations appeared before the committee as witnesses and made numerous recommendations for amendments to the bill. Over the last week, the three opposition parties co-operated to include many of these recommendations for action on climate change into C-30. The bill now requires regulations to set absolute caps at “Kyoto levels” (6 per cent below 1990 emission levels) on greenhouse gas emissions from heavy industry, taking effect in January 2008. The bill also requires that vehicle fuel consumption regulations match international best practices.
“The ball is now in the government's court,” said Clare Demerse, climate change policy analyst at the Pembina Institute. “The committee has done its work - now it's up to the government to bring the bill to a vote in the House of Commons and make it law. C-30's absolute, Kyoto-level targets for heavy industry are now the standard that the government must meet.”
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