We can protect the climate and the quality of life for people, plants and animals – here at home and around the world. There is now an overwhelming consensus that climate protection is affordable and achievable with already-available technology and modest lifestyle changes. To get there, we must transform our energy system, change the way we build our communities, manufacture equipment and appliances, and develop our natural resources. The key to unlocking this climate-protection potential is to respect that there are limits to how much carbon pollution we can put into the air, commit to help by doing our fair share and saying “YES” to clean energy.
The next ten years are critical. We must break our addiction to dirty energy – coal, oil and gas because that is where most of the carbon pollution comes from that is changing the climate. Growth in dirty energy supply and pipelines must be halted now because climate disruption puts the health and well-being of families and communities – here at home and around the world – at risk by making weather more extreme and varied. Climate disruption makes it more difficult to be safe from flooding or to keep the lights or heat on in an intense rain or ice storm; it can affect how we grow food, manage our forests, and sustain our economy. We also need to reform agriculture, forestry and mining so that less carbon pollution is created from the way we use fertilizers, raise animals, and disrupt the soil and landscape.
The good news is that we know how to manufacture our homes, buildings, vehicles and equipment so that they perform the way we want them to while using less energy. We know how to build, at increasingly affordable rates, renewable energy technologies that can generate the electricity we need to run our electronics, lights, equipment and vehicles, and to heat our water and homes using the power of the wind, sun and water. We know how to develop our cities and towns so that they are less car-dependent and give us more options for walking, cycling and using public transit. We know how to grow food closer to home using fewer or no chemicals. What we need now is to accelerate these trends. We need the moral commitment of citizens, politicians and business leaders to say yes to the changes that we need to make to keep our children, communities and the environment that sustains us safe – here at home and around the world.
Climate disruption is happening now, the need for a response is urgent, and the opportunities to phase out oil, coal and gas and phase in clean energy are plentiful.
Who We Are
Climate Action Network Canada – Réseau action climat Canada (CAN-Rac Canada) is a coalition of more than 100 organizations from across the country that cares about how a changing climate affects people, plants and wildlife. Our network believes that it is reckless not to invest now to keep our families and communities safe, especially when solutions are affordable. We are working together to advance solutions to managing our carbon pollution through sustainable and equitable development.
Climate Action Network Canada – Réseau action climat Canada (CAN-Rac Canada) is the only network in the country that brings labour, development, faith-based and aboriginal groups together with the key national and provincial environmental organizations working on climate change. The network plays a critical role in helping Canadian organizations understand and respond to climate change impacts and policies in Canada and around the world and to coordinate their collective work on this issue to maximize their collective impact. CAN-Rac Canada is unique in the Canadian climate movement because it is the only organization with a mandate to promote the climate movement as a whole, rather than the interests and programs of any one organization.
To combat climate change, particularly by building social consensus for the implementation of comprehensive climate change action plans by all levels of government, based on the best available science, with specific policies, targets, timetables and reporting, and to work with Canada’s governments, First Nations, Inuit and Metis, private sector, labour, and civil society for the effective implementation of these plans.
CAN-Rac Canada promotes solutions that protect the climate. The network’s work is supported by its secretariat that provides a forum for collaborative action, communication, policy development, and coordination to CAN-Rac Canada’s independent member organizations. Members recognize preventing dangerous human interference with the global climate system involves significant opportunities for reforming how society uses and generates energy, and utilizes natural resources, water and land.
Climate Action Network Canada Members’ Charter
Members support the mission, mandate, and activities of CAN-Rac Canada and endorse this Charter and the following Domestic Statement:
- Canadians have an ethical responsibility to take immediate steps to help safeguard the climate system to protect the natural environment that sustains people, plants and wildlife.
- Protecting people, plants and wildlife from dangerous climate disruption requires action to keep global warming below 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Limiting warming to 1.5°C could avoid some of the worst impacts of climate change, but still implies significant risks to vulnerable peoples, communities and regions; further stresses to unique ecosystems, such as the Arctic and coral reefs; and continue to expose many people to ever more extreme weather events. The risks at 2°C are even more dangerous and are not acceptable when the survival of cultures, countries and ecosystems is at stake.
- Limiting global warming to less than 1.5°C requires keeping global greenhouse gas emissions within a cumulative carbon budget. Estimates by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change suggest that to keep global warming to less than 2°C requires a budget that, with current global emissions, could be used up in less than 20 years. To limit warming to less than 1.5°C clearly implies a much smaller remaining budget and therefore a more rapid transition.
- The world must urgently phase out the use of oil, coal and gas and phase in a 100 percent renewable energy system with access to sustainable energy for all.
- Governments (federal, provincial/territorial, municipal) must immediately shift policies and programs toward:
- Freezing the supply of dirty energy and then shrinking our use of coal, oil and gas in favour of growing a clean energy system. Creating a clean energy system based on energy conservation, energy efficiency, and low-impact renewable energy sources.
- Reducing greenhouse gas emissions that are not fossil fuel related but originate from waste management, industrial and other processes, animal husbandry, fertilizer use, and land-use change in forestry, agriculture and community development.
- Minimizing climate change risk through strategies to help people, businesses, and communities adapt to a changing climate, including investment in infrastructure, emergency preparedness, and community resilience.
- Clean energy and climate protection policies must protect workers and communities affected by the transformation to a clean energy system, for example workers and communities currently dependent on the extraction and processing of oil, coal or gas for their local economies and livelihoods.
- At the international level, Canada, which has one of the highest per capita emissions rates of carbon pollution in the world, and is one of the 10 biggest polluters in absolute terms, must play a leadership role in domestic and global action to enhance the effectiveness and accountability of the United Nations Framework on Convention on Climate Change and its associated instruments. This includes making substantial contributions to funding international climate change adaptation and sustainable development, including clean energy.
- As individuals, we all have a part to play in climate protection, including lowering our personal energy use, using energy more efficiently, shifting away from using coal, oil and gas in our homes and vehicles, and engaging as citizens and leaders by supporting and encouraging policies and programs that accelerate the shift to a 100 percent renewable energy system.
Domestic Policy Statement January 2015
Climate Action Network Canada – Réseau action climat Canada believes that to effectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions, slow climate change, and make the transition to a climate friendly economy based on the efficient use of clean energy and resources, the following conditions must be met:
- Halt the expansion of oil, coal and gas extraction and related infrastructure because the global carbon budget is small and rapidly declining. We must cap new tar sands development, end pipeline and refinery expansion, as well as other risky and costly projects, such as hydraulic fracking, offshore oil-drilling or drilling in the Arctic. We must also rapidly phase out the use of coal in the electricity sector and get our cars and trucks off oil. The more electricity we make using technologies that rely on the sun, wind and water the faster we can tilt the economy toward sustainable jobs.
- Canada must accelerate its commitment to climate protection and meet its 2020 greenhouse gas reduction target to contribute to global efforts to stay within the global budget needed to keep global warming below 1.5°C. Emissions from the oil and gas sector – the largest and fastest growing source of emissions in Canada – must be effectively regulated immediately.
- Canada must commit internationally to an ambitious national greenhouse gas reduction target for the next ten years (by 2025) that puts Canada on course to near zero emissions within 35 years (by 2050). The target must be legislated domestically. Canada also needs to commit to financing international action that generates global reductions in line with preventing dangerous climate change. Canada should:
- Update targets and plans every five years to reach the long-term goal of near zero greenhouse gas emissions based on the phasing in of a clean energy system. Under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Canada should support the goals of complete decarbonization of the world’s energy systems within 35 years (by 2050), and an end to net deforestation as soon as possible.
- Develop and implement a national climate plan to meet the domestically legislated target in partnership with provinces/territories and municipalities. The plan(s) should:
- Seize Canada’s potential in the clean energy economy by, among other measures, putting a strong and predictable price on carbon pollution that is designed to increase rapidly over time so industry and consumers respond to market signals and shift their energy consuming behaviours. We recognize that some provinces have already taken the lead on implementing carbon pricing regimes and that others will follow. The federal government has a critical role to play in ensuring national targets are met, establishing best practices, and facilitating integration of provincial carbon pricing systems, as well as international linkages. We believe that a carbon trading system works best when all permits are auctioned and where there is broad coverage. Whether a carbon levy, carbon trading or a combination of both, we also believe that revenues should be used either to facilitate the transition to a clean energy system (i.e., green infrastructure, energy efficiency and conservation, and renewable energy projects), and/or to contribute to tax shifts that lower income taxes and the cost of labour.
- Plan for protection of the most vulnerable in our society, (i.e. Aboriginal communities and those living on low or fixed incomes) when implementing all clean energy system policies, including carbon pricing,
- Establish, in partnership with provinces/territories and municipalities, positive targets for, as examples, renewable energy generation installed, homes and buildings retrofitted for energy efficiency, and low or zero-emitting cars on the road. Numerous studies show there is cost-effective potential for a 100 percent renewable electricity system to supply energy to homes, buildings and vehicles.
- Establish stringent energy efficiency and conservation improvement standards for all new homes and buildings, appliances, equipment, and vehicles.
- End subsidies to the oil, coal and gas sector that encourage exploration, development, refining, and export of these sources of energy and redirect those subsidies toward low-impact renewable energy generation and energy efficiency.
- Stimulate sustainable transportation by investing in accessible urban and intercity public transit, active transportation like cycling and walking, discourage single-occupancy automobile use, and shift freight movement from road to rail.
- Require efficient urban development and land-use planning that preserves and expands urban green space and farmland, retains forests and waterways, prevents further urban sprawl and factors in requirements for adapting to a changing climate as the foundation for federal/provincial-territorial/municipal infrastructure funding partnerships and tri-partite agreements
- Require independent third party audits and assessment of climate plan implementation outcomes.
- Accelerate research and development in emerging renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies, including storage, with the aim of positioning Canada at the forefront of the global clean energy revolution.
 Long-term Global Goals for 2050: Phase out fossil fuel emissions and phase in 100% renewable energy. Climate Action Network International, June 2014.
A global budget of 2900 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (Gt CO2 eq.) since the industrial revolution to have a greater than 66% likelihood of not exceeding 2°C. Two thirds of the budget has already been used as of 2012, leaving less than 1000 Gt CO2 eq. IPCC Fifth Assessment Synthesis Report, p. 40.
 The 2020 gap is, according to a recent United Nations Environment Programme report, the difference between global emission levels consistent with the 2°C and emission expected if country commitments are implemented. “Global emissions should not be higher than 44 Gt CO2 eq. …However the range of expected global emissions (median estimates) from the pledge cases is 52 – 54 Gt CO2 eq. in 2020. The gap in 2020 is therefore 8 – 10 Gt CO2 eq.” The Emissions Gap Report 2014: A UNEP Synthesis Report, November 2014, p. xix
 The New Democratic Party’s Private Members Bill C-619: The Climate Change Accountability Act, calls for a target of 34 percent below 1990 levels by 2025 (about 47% below 2005 by 2025).
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