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Federal parties need to seize opportunity to pass strong climate law

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Climate accountability bill needs significant improvement to achieve net-zero emissions, experts warn

OTTAWA/Traditional, Unceded Territory of the Algonquin Anishnaabeg People – Environmental organizations welcomed yesterday’s progress on the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act (Bill C-12), which has passed second reading in the House of Commons and will now be reviewed by the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development.

Bill C-12 is a critical opportunity to make sure that Canada never misses another climate target. It is now time for politicians of all parties to work together to get this legislation right and pass Canada’s new climate law as soon as possible.

After decades of broken climate promises, Bill C-12 can lay the foundation for Canada to rein in its greenhouse gas emissions and achieve a climate target for the first time.

However, environmental experts note that the bill requires significant amendments in order to deliver immediate action on climate change, robust accountability, burden-sharing, and a safe and healthy future for all Canadians.

Politicians must now work together to make these critical improvements to Bill C-12 and pass a bold climate bill as soon as possible.

Catherine Abreu, Executive director of CAN-Rac, said: 

“Strengthening Bill C-12 in committee is crucial for Canada to break its disastrous cycle of broken climate promises. Parties will have to keep working together to equip Canada with a rigorous climate governance framework that, if they rise to the challenge, could usher in a new era of climate accountability in this country. Climate Action Network Canada will keep working with its members and allies towards the adoption of the necessary amendments in this next phase of the parliamentary process. In particular, we will be looking for increased ambition in the next 9 years, stronger long-term accountability and a clear role for scientific advice in the bill.”

Alan Andrews, Ecojustice climate program director said:

“Canadians are ready for bolder, more ambitious climate action and it is now time for politicians to work together to deliver a law that holds governments accountable for reducing emissions. Bill C-12 is a critical opportunity to make sure that Canada never misses another climate target but the bill needs crucial amendments to deliver real accountability.” 

Émile Boisseau-Bouvier, climate policy analyst at Équiterre, said:

“While Bill C-12 has reached an important milestone, the work is far from over. In its current form, the bill does not adequately address the needs of the current crisis. However, we are confident that the necessary amendments can be adopted in committee in the coming weeks. We will be there to propose solutions to strengthen the bill and to remind elected officials that Canada must not miss another of its climate targets.”

Andrew Gage, Staff Lawyer at West Coast Environmental Law, said:

“To meet Canada’s climate goals, we need a law that requires our government to develop and deliver realistic plans to achieve our targets. Bill C-12 currently falls short, and MPs must make the right amendments to ensure that this important legislation will achieve the real accountability Canada needs.”

Sabaa Khan, director general for Quebec, David Suzuki Foundation, said:

“With yesterday’s vote in parliament, climate accountability legislation is one step closer to becoming law. Now there’s an opportunity to strengthen the bill to improve planning, public participation and accountability. Climate accountability legislation will lay the foundation for Canada’s action on climate change, now and into the future. It is crucially important to get it right, so we can mitigate the worst impacts of the climate crisis and enhance resilience across Canada.”

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For media inquiries, contact: 

Alexis Stoymenoff | Director of Communications, West Coast Environmental Law
604-684-7378 ext. 228, astoymenoff@wcel.org 

 


About

Climate Action Network Canada  – Réseau action climat Canada is a coalition of more than 100 organizations across the country, bringing together labour, development, faith-based, and Indigenous groups with the key national, provincial, and territorial environmental organizations working on climate change. The network plays a critical role in helping Canadian organizations understand and respond to climate change impacts and policies, across Canada and around the world, to coordinate efforts for greatest impact.

The David Suzuki Foundation is a leading Canadian environmental non-profit organization, founded in 1990. We collaborate with all people in Canada, including government and business, to conserve the environment and find solutions that will create a sustainable Canada through evidence-based research, public engagement and policy work. We operate in English and French, with offices in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal.

Équiterre offers concrete solutions to accelerate the transition towards a society in which individuals, organizations and governments make ecological choices that are both healthy and equitable.

Ecojustice uses the power of the law to defend nature, combat climate change, and fight for a healthy environment. Its strategic, public interest lawsuits and advocacy lead to precedent-setting court decisions and law and policy that deliver lasting solutions to Canada’s most urgent environmental problems. As Canada’s largest environmental law charity, Ecojustice operates offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, and Halifax

West Coast Environmental Law is a non-profit group of environmental lawyers, strategists, and communicators dedicated to safeguarding the environment through law. Working with communities and partners across the country, West Coast aims to transform environmental decision-making and strengthen legal protection for the environment through collaborative legal strategies that bridge Indigenous and Canadian law.