With one decade to halve emissions, Parliament has critical role in addressing climate crisis

OTTAWA — The newly elected Canadian Parliament must implement unprecedented action to meet its international climate commitments, in line with maximum global warming of 1.5 C. To do so, members of Parliament must come together and work across political boundaries.

“Canadians overwhelmingly support climate action. They want immediate and long-term solutions to the climate crisis now,” David Suzuki Foundation CEO Stephen Cornish said. “Canadians — especially younger people — expect government to rise to the challenge.”

Leading up to the election, several polls identified climate change as one of, if not the, top election issue. Throughout the country, more than 800,000 young people and their supporters took to the streets on September 27, joining more than 7.6 million worldwide, to demand that adults take the climate crisis seriously.

“In Canada, we have a rich history of coming together in minority government situations for the betterment of society, from wartime efforts to Medicare and universal pension plans. This is such a moment. Transitioning to clean energy and helping solve the global climate emergency should unite us as Canadians, helping create a better, safer, more just world,” Cornish said.

Last October, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — the world’s leading authority on climate change and the response needed to prevent breakdown of the planet’s climate system — gave the world 12 years to cut global carbon emissions by roughly half, and fully by 2050. Canada is not on track to meet its 2030 target, which is even less stringent than the IPCC targets.

“Canadians want decisive action. We want investments in our future that will help diversify our economy and increase our economic stability,” Cornish said. “This year, the Bank of Canada identified climate change as a major area of economic risk, but it’s also an area of great opportunity for our country. The actions this Parliament takes to transition us to a clean energy future will have huge impacts on the well-being of our children and grandchildren. This government must deliver – for all Canadians.”

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David Suzuki Foundation priority asks of new federal government:

  • Fully implement the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change, and move forward with new measures to achieve a legislated 2030 climate target in line with 1.5 C.
  • Introduce legislation to recognize in law the right to a healthy environment (an environmental bill of rights).
  • Protect Canada’s most important oceans and land, including habitat that will allow recovery of species at risk, and meet our other UN Convention on Biological Diversity targets.
  • Address the conservation needs in Canada’s ocean environment, including recovering degraded fish stocksand reducing impacts of open net-pen aquaculture on all coasts.
  • Make real progress toward a zero-waste, circular economy, including a regulatory ban on non-essential single-use plastics by 2021.

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Brendan Glauser, bglauser@davidsuzuki.org, (604) 356-8829