Why does Canada’s action on climate change matter?
Canada is taking more action on climate change than ever before, but it’s still not enough. Our national targets for reducing emissions are among the least ambitious of all developed countries, and they will not help us avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
What Canada does to reduce emissions matters on a global scale. Currently, we have the third-highest greenhouse gas emissions per capita in the world. We also have the third-largest known oil reserves and we’re the world’s fourth-largest oil exporter. We therefore have the ability to do a lot of damage but also the opportunity to make big, positive change. Canada has the economic, human and renewable resources to be a leader in a globally emerging cleaner economy.
What are the key upcoming milestones?
We need to set an emissions reduction target of at least 60 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 to be equitable and in line with climate science.
To meet that target, we need an ambitious and achievable climate plan that is based on justice for workers, Indigenous Peoples and communities.
To ensure current and future governments meet our targets, we need to strengthen and pass Bill C-12, the Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act.
Just how ambitious should Canada’s climate target be?
Canada’s current climate target and plan are setting us on a dangerous path to accelerated warming and intensified extreme weather. They could lead us past the point of no return from climate chaos in this decade.
In line with the Paris Agreement, equity considerations and international climate science, we are advocating for Canada to do its fair share and commit to reduce emissions by 60 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. This is what’s required for us to live in a climate-safe world.
The international community won’t review targets again for another five years, so it’s important to get on track now.
What is COP26 and why is it so important?
Every year, countries come together to discuss, analyze and negotiate how to tackle climate change at the UN Conference of the Parties. COP26 is the 26th of these UN climate conferences and is scheduled for November 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Climate change is a global challenge that no person, town or country can tackle alone. UN climate conferences are the only truly worldwide effort to co-operate on climate action.
COP26, and the processes leading up to it, will attempt to get countries to commit to increased targets and action to get on track to limit global warming to 1.5 C to avoid the worst effects of climate change. For COP26, countries will report on progress made since the Paris Agreement was adopted in 2015. So far, the combined commitments of countries worldwide are missing the mark and would not prevent catastrophic levels of climate change. COP26 is our opportunity to get on track.
If we make bold changes now, we can still avoid the worst of climate change.
Canada needs to dramatically step up its climate ambition
Federal Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson has said Canada “need[s] to ensure that our targets are aligned with the science.” His remarks March 25 followed the Supreme Court of Canada’s landmark decision to uphold the government’s authority to implement federal carbon pricing policy.
Director General, Quebec and Atlantic Canada
Climate change basics
What is climate change?
Human-caused climate change is affecting the planet in ways that could alter all life on Earth. It’s the biggest, most urgent problem we face.Learn more
What are greenhouse gas emissions?
Human activities like burning fossil fuels have added huge quantities of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide to our atmosphere, creating a “greenhouse effect” that traps energy from the sun and causes Earth’s temperature to rise.Learn more