TORONTO | Traditional territories of the Wendat, Anishnabeg, Haudenosaunee, Chippewas and Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation — While the COP28 climate summit agreed to transition away from fossil fuels by 2050, loopholes risk expansion of gas production and rely on unproven technology like carbon capture and storage. This is not aligned with the latest climate science and would worsen the crisis, especially for the most vulnerable populations.

The David Suzuki Foundation welcomed the agreement to triple global renewable energy capacity by 2030. The foundation stands in solidarity with social movements, scientists and Indigenous Peoples around the world who are calling for a fair and fast phase-out of fossil fuels because of the industry’s harmful pollution and resulting extreme weather.

The Foundation urges leaders to put communities, not vested oil interests, in their minds when planning for our future. It remains concerned about the fossil fuel industry’s influence on the UN climate negotiations and climate policies in Canada. The call on governments to transition away from fossil fuels places a new onus on historical emitters like Canada to halt further oil and gas expansion.

The Foundation also welcomed the Canadian government’s announcements about advancing key domestic regulations to limit pollution from the fossil fuel industry. This includes draft regulations for methane emissions and a draft framework for an oil and gas emissions cap. However, these policies must be strengthened and finalized as soon as possible.

While failing to provide an ambitious agreement on the phase-out of fossil fuels, parties moved forward on an agreement to pay for the industry’s harms in communities on the front lines of the climate crisis through a loss and damage fund. Contributions made so far are only a fraction of what is needed to respond to the scale of the crisis. More support is critical.

On Nature Day at COP28, the David Suzuki Foundation also welcomed Canada’s commitment to introduce a nature accountability act. The climate and biodiversity crises are inextricably linked, which is why we need an effective law that will keep progress on track while respecting Indigenous rights and title.

The Foundation congratulates Quebec for taking on presidency of the Beyond Oil & Gas Alliance. Meanwhile, the Alberta government was given a “Fossil of the Day” award by the Climate Action Network. An all-hands-on-deck approach is needed across all levels of government to ramp up climate ambition.

Sabaa Khan, Director of Climate Solutions, Director General of Quebec and Atlantic Canada, said:

“While the final agreement failed to include a clear commitment to phase out all fossil fuels, the pressure for a moratorium on oil and gas production will only grow as extreme weather events cause more economic and social harm and destruction across all countries. Loopholes in the final agreement risk expansion of gas production and rely on unproven technology like carbon capture and storage. Extreme weather will continue to increase in frequency and intensity here in Canada and around the world unless governments take immediate and ambitious action.

“Canada is the only G7 nation with rising emissions and we are poised to be the world’s second-largest developer of new oil and gas extraction by 2050. We have a responsibility to act on behalf of the communities being hardest hit by the crisis.

“We need strong regulations from the federal government to limit the fossil fuel industry’s pollution and we need them in place as soon as possible. International law and Canada’s legal obligations under the Paris Agreement show that Canada must stop supporting the fossil fuel industry and expansion of production and exports. All levels of government have a role to play and those in Canada who support oil interests, like Alberta and Saskatchewan, must not be allowed to slow progress. Fossil fuels are an existential threat to humanity.

“We need to phase out fossil fuels, shift toward renewable energy like wind and solar, and support communities through this transition.”

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