Positive announcements are insufficient in the face of unprecedented global injustices
SHARM EL-SHEIKH, EGYPT — Canada announced some positive initiatives to tackle climate change, but left a large elephant in the room during the first week of the COP27 international climate meeting: fossil fuel industry expansion at home.
The David Suzuki Foundation welcomes Canada’s announcement of a projected new framework on methane emissions and participation in a “Joint Declaration from Energy Importers and Exporters on Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Fossil Fuels.”
Despite these positive steps, reducing fossil fuel use by 50 per cent before 2030 — which the International Energy Association says is necessary to limit global temperature increase to the 1.5 C threshold — will require much more. Canada must rapidly stop fossil fuel expansion, put a strong cap on oil and gas emissions and make substantial commitments on mitigation, adaptation, and loss and damage financing in favour of the most vulnerable countries that are least responsible for causing climate change.
As the meeting enters its second week, Canada must raise its climate ambition.
To avoid the worst outcomes in the escalating climate crisis, countries with disproportionately high carbon footprints like Canada must announce bolder targets (or nationally determined contributions). COP27 should be the moment for Canada to rise to its international and domestic responsibilities.
The planet is currently on a trajectory toward a 2.7+ C increase, which scientists say means a non-viable future for humanity. Meanwhile, there are more than 630 fossil fuel industry delegates at COP27 — many part of national delegations steering the negotiations.
DSF recognizes Minister Steven Guilbeault’s efforts today to defend inclusion of the 1.5 C objective in the COP27 cover letter amid attempts to weaken the objective.
“The progressive announcements we’ve heard by high carbon–emitting countries, notably on methane, mark incremental progress. Meanwhile, the expanding presence of fossil fuel interests on national delegations and major disagreement on the institutions and investments needed to prevent and respond to loss and damage are major hurdles. Under Article 6, there is a big risk that carbon removals will legitimize false climate solutions and pose major obstacles to the 1.5 C target and human rights worldwide,” Sabaa Khan, the David Suzuki Foundation’s director general for Quebec and Atlantic Canada said.
“We are living under a system of fossil fuel supremacy, where capitalism, white supremacy and colonialism play large roles in maintaining current fossil fuel dominance. Indigenous Peoples and people of colour are most affected. People in Canada are facing crippling rising costs of living, while oil and gas companies are logging record-breaking profits, even as they continue to receive colossal subsidies. To limit the planet’s heating to livable levels, fossil fuel supremacy must end now. Another way is possible — we have the solutions,” Severn Cullis-Suzuki, the Foundation’s executive director said.
“At COP27, we’re witnessing how countries from the global north like Canada deny the harm their current and historic emissions are causing millions of people. Without sufficient funding for loss and damage, vulnerable communities will not receive the support they need following climate catastrophes. It means denying people food, water, health care and educational and agricultural infrastructure. Canada’s refusal to halt oil and gas expansion is a choice to prioritize short-term profit over urgent harm reduction for millions,” Albert Lalonde, project manager at the Foundation and student climate justice organizer said.
“Climate justice is the key issue here — each day at COP27, we witness the distress calls of global south populations. Industrialized and polluting countries like Canada have a responsibility to pay for the loss and damage they have caused. African countries are responsible for just three per cent of emissions, yet they are most impacted. Yet, we are seeing deep disagreements between polluting countries and the nations most vulnerable and least responsible for the climate crisis. We need Canada to demonstrate leadership on this urgent issue,” Charles Bonhomme, the Foundation’s manager of public affairs said.
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