Bill C-12 dangerously insufficient to avoid far worse heating, emergency approach needed
OTTAWA, ON, July 8th, 2021 – A group of youth and climate organizations, including Climate Strike Canada, (see full list and quotes below) expresses disappointment and anger over the passage by Parliament last week of a dangerously weak climate accountability law. The law threatens to delay immediate action from being taken to prevent deadly heat events magnitudes worse than those currently ravaging B.C. and the Prairie provinces.
The legislation continues a dangerous status quo of incrementalism and fails to offer an emergency framework to rapidly and drastically cut heat-trapping pollution, reducing the world’s chances of avoiding apocalyptic global heating. It was debated and adopted while deadly pollution-fueled extreme heat waves and other climate events were already devastating the west coast of the continent and many other parts of the world.
The legislation fails by:
- Not enshrining crucial near-term targets to begin immediately and drastically decreasing emissions in line with the science
- Giving a loophole-laden definition net-zero emissions that can be used to stall the urgent action required now
- Not including consumption-based and international aviation and shipping emissions.
The group is demanding that the federal government adopt an emergency framework and begin immediately implementing measures that will achieve steep cuts in emissions starting this year across all economic sectors in a war effort-style attempt to stave off locking in an unlivable planet.
Without immediate and drastic action, deadly heat waves are expected to become magnitudes worse, with the world running the risk of passing the temperature threshold that could lock in runaway global heating. This could lead the Earth into an “hothouse” state, fueling mass extinction and leaving large parts of it uninhabitable.
To have a fighting chance of avoiding this threshold, global emissions must drop by more than 7.6% per year over this decade starting immediately, according to the United Nations, and by more than 10% per year for wealthy countries like Canada. Each year that action of this magnitude is not taken, the steeper and more difficult future reductions will need to be. Bill C-12 and the weak 2030 target it will enforce does not take into account this reality and allows for the government to stall on making steep emission cuts in the immediate.
The law also includes a vague definition of net-zero emissions, leaving open the possibility that the federal and provincial governments delay making urgent cuts domestically by allowing planet-heating pollution to be offset abroad or by relying on the hypothetical deployment of unproven negative emission technologies in the scenarios that underlay their targets.
Sophie Price, Organizer, Climate Strike Canada said:
“The latest tragic weather events happening, not only in so-called Canada, but across the world will only be the beginning of what the climate emergency has in-store for us. Young people across the country know the risk of not acting immediately to halt the production and use of fossil fuels. We cannot waste any more time.”
Albert Lalonde, co-spokesperson of the Coalition étudiante pour un virage écologique et social (CEVES) said:
“Our elders are dying from heatwaves. More and more of us are seeing our homes burned or flooded. Our water supply is threatened. The devastating effects of climate change are no longer in the future. The only acceptable option is to do what the latest science tells us is necessary for the well-being of all Canadians.”
Anthony Garoufalis-Auger, spokesperson for Rapid Decarbonization Group said:
“These deadly heat waves are a reminder that we are knee deep in the climate emergency and that the cost of our governments’ inaction is paid in lives. At this point nothing less than an all hands on deck, wartime-like effort will give us a fighting chance of avoiding hell on Earth, and this new climate law doesn’t cut it. We can’t continue to waste time on suicidal incrementalism. Nero fiddles while Rome burns.”
Lyn Adamson, Co-Chair, ClimateFast said:
“Right now an unprecedented heat wave reminds us how devastating inadequate action can be. We need a government that commits to no more fossil fuel expansion of any kind, no permits, no financing, and to take leadership internationally towards a treaty to bring an end to fossil fuel investment. We need to see a plan that provides adequate investment – many times what is currently on offer – for climate solutions, and the commitment to stop subsidies and permits for fossil fuel expansion as called for by the International Energy Agency (IEA).”
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Co-founder and Spokesperson
Rapid Decarbonization Group