For Immediate Release
Canada Must Bring Just Transition into their Climate Plan
Enhancing climate ambition with Just Transition must happen at home and as part of Canada Paris Pledge
Nov 15, 2017
For Immediate Release
Bonn, Germnay – Climate Action Network is calling on the federal government to take the concerns of workers and communities seriously by addressing Just Transition through a national task force at home and incorporating it into their international Paris Agreement pledge.
“Meeting the goals of Paris means transitioning to low carbon economy and that means that everyone has to have a plan for the climate, workers, and communities. ” says Samantha Smith, Director, of the Just Transition Centre. “Canada could be a leading example of how to manage this the right way by enhancing their Paris commitment to include Just Transition and making the needs of workers and communities a priority during the transition towards a new clean economy in Canada and away from fossil fuels.
Originally developed by trade unions, Just Transition is a framework for developing policies that secure good jobs and healthy communities, as well as a suite of other social issues, during times of economic change such as the transition to a low carbon economy.
“Climate Action Network’s request is consistent with the labour movement and civil society in Canada and internationally.” says Donald Lafleur of the Canadian Labour Congress. “ A Just Transition Task Force will allow affected workers to help shape the programs and support needed to ensure a fair just transition”
Indigenous communities have always maintained that a healthy and equitable relationship to land must guide just transition. From solar installations to small scale renewable projects, Indigenous Peoples continue to champion new development paradigms. Support from the federal government is critical and could be a significant step toward.
“To say economic development will solve our problems? This is not enough. For us, just transition must be led by forward visionary thinking, based on principles, practices and processes that build economic and political power to shift from an extractive economy to a regenerative economy.” says Heather Milton Lightening of Indigenous Climate Action. “We need solutions that do good for all communities while not doing harm to the earth.”
In Alberta, one of the first provinces to wrestle with phasing out of fossil fuels as they transition away from coal fired generating stations, the provincial government has taken steps to provide support for the workers who will be facing change. While it still requires support from the federal government, Alberta has used revenue from climate policies to provide financial support and retraining to workers.
“The phase out of coal power in Alberta can present a very useful blueprint for transition efforts in other jurisdictions and sectors. A phase-out schedule enables proactive action for communities and workers, and allows them to leverage other climate actions. For example, the province is using revenue from its carbon levy to support those impacted by the transition as well as to create alternative opportunities for economic growth.” says Binnu Jeyakumar of the Pembina Institute.