Brief to the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development on how to strengthen Bill C-12, the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act
It is well beyond time for Canada to take ambitious action on climate change. The Paris Agreement commits all signatories to working to hold average global warming to 1.5°C. In 2018, the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – the world’s preeminent climate authority – detailed how essential it is to keep global temperature rise to within 1.5 degrees in order to avoid the most catastrophic and irreversible impacts of climate change.1 Canada is warming at a rate roughly double that of the rest of the world, and the rate in northern parts of the country is nearly three times the global average.
Meanwhile, Canada has missed every single climate target it has set. As one of the top 10 net emitters of greenhouse gases (GHGs) globally and one of the top per capita emitting countries, Canada disproportionately contributes to the climate crisis. As a result, we have an obligation, as well as an international commitment under the Paris Agreement, to do our fair share of reducing domestic and global emissions as quickly as possible.
Bill C-12 is a tentative step in the right direction, but it is too weak in its current form. We have dragged our heels for too long, and now is the time for action. Fortunately, the Bill can be strengthened into an Act that Canadians can be proud of.
We set out what we believe are the best practices for climate accountability legislation in our 2020
report, A New Canadian Climate Accountability Act: Building the legal foundation to achieve net-zero
emissions by 2050. This brief identifies the key elements of climate accountability laws found in our report and suggests how they can be met within the structures and approach taken by Bill C-12. In each case we explain why the element is important and what amendments are required to achieve accountability.