Unceded Algonquin Anishinaabe Territories (OTTAWA), April 22, 2021 – This morning during the opening plenary of President Biden’s Leaders’ Summit on Climate, Prime Minister Trudeau announced Canada’s new 40-45% climate target range. This target marks an increase in ambition, up from the nation’s previously stated target window of 31-40% as announced in December 2020’s Healthy Environment Healthy Economy Plan.
This announcement confirms Canada’s intended level of commitment, which fell under swift scrutiny earlier this week when a number (36%), released as part of the federal budget, was widely mistaken for a new greenhouse gas reduction target.
Canada’s target announcement this morning was made alongside that of several other nations in attendance at the Leaders’ Summit on Climate, and comes on the heels of ambitious targets announced just days ago by other Paris signatory nations including the UK, who has brought forward a new 78% by 2035 target, and the Biden administration’s commitment to reducing emissions by half by the end of the decade.
QUOTE FROM CAPE
“Human bodies do not tolerate half-measures in resuscitation–we crash and die. COVID-19 does not tolerate half-measures in its management–cases skyrocket. Similarly, keeping the climate from trespassing across tipping points of no return is not a situation where half-measures constitute a healthy response to climate change. A 40-45% reduction in emissions below 2005 levels by 2030 does not represent Canada’s fair share of emissions reductions. So our job is to over-deliver. Our ambition heading forward must be to push hard, push fast, and not stop until we create the governance frameworks, through a strengthened Bill C-12, the resources, via a reallocation of fossil fuel subsidies, and the political will necessary for us to wake up in 2030 and find that we have done our part in stabilizing the Earth’s climate and providing a healthy future for our children.” – Dr. Courtney Howard, Emergency Physician, Past President, Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE)
QUOTES FROM CANADIAN CIVIL SOCIETY REPRESENTATIVES
“It’s good to see Canada driving up ambition and it’s not enough. The new target is not aligned with 1.5C – that would require a 60% emissions reduction goal. We hope to see Canada continue to ramp up ambition, both in future years and as NDC consultations occur in coming months on the road to Glasgow. Canada not only needs to improve its climate targets, but also pass strong legislation to meet those targets. Canada’s proposed Net-Zero Accountability Act, currently stalled in the House, must be strengthened as it contains more of a duty to report than a duty to achieve. As Prime Minister Trudeau noted, Canada is an energy exporting nation and that is one of the country’s main barriers to climate ambition. Canada’s new NDC should address emissions from oil and gas production, ban fossil fuel subsidies, and enshrine Just Transition legislation.” – Catherine Abreu, Executive Director, Climate Action Network Canada
“If Trudeau’s government is serious about fighting climate change, his administration needs to stand up to big oil, starting with the cancelation of the Trans Mountain Pipeline, phasing out fossil fuel subsidies, and bringing in strong regulations to limit climate pollution,” said Sven Biggs, Canadian Oil and Gas Program Director.
“Canada was once a climate leader. We can be again, but only if this government has the courage to acknowledge that we cannot reach our climate commitments so long as we rely on fossil fuels for jobs and our energy needs. Any successful climate plan must include massive investment in supporting oil and gas workers to transition to a clean energy economy,” said Sonia Theroux, Executive Director, Leadnow.
“The problem with Justin Trudeau’s new climate pledge can be summed up in two words – fossil fuels. Neither Trudeau’s new climate plan, nor his budget, nor this new climate promise include a plan to tackle soaring emissions from tar sands, fracking and other fossil fuel expansion that makes Canada the only G7 country whose emissions have gone up since signing the Paris Agreement. Canada needs to cut our emissions at least 60% by 2030 and pass legislation like a Just Transition Act to make sure we meet our Paris commitment and leave no one behind,” said Amara Possian, Canada Campaigns Director, 350.org.
“The ambition has certainly been raised, but it doesn’t match the climate emergency. To make a difference and positions itself as a leader, Canada needs to set targets of at least 60% by 2030 and help other countries decarbonize. The longer we wait to put in place the policies and regulations that will take us to carbon neutrality by 2050, the steeper the slope towards that goal will be,” said Émile Boisseau-Bouvier, Climate Policy Analyst at Équiterre.
“Trudeau’s proposed target is less ambitious than what climate science requires, with no commitment to phasing out fossil fuels at home or abroad. Canada is a rich country yet its target is less than Canada’s fair share of the global effort and less than what the U.S. is proposing. We should be proposing at least a 60% reduction in emissions by 2030 from 2005 levels, alongside a plan for a just transition for workers as we phase out fossil fuels. We must start with eliminating fossil fuel subsidies immediately. After more than five years in office, the Trudeau government is still incapable of proposing a target as ambitious as that of Joe Biden who took office just three months ago. Despite recent positive commitments on climate, Canada remains under the influence of the oil and gas industry, which prioritizes private profits over the wellbeing of communities and the environment. The costs of inaction will be greater than the cost of acting quickly and decisively.” – Keith Stewart, Senior Energy Strategist, Greenpeace Canada
“This is not a climate emergency target. Canada is one of the very worst emitters and needs to do more. This target will not halt the 2 degrees of warming that puts the future of the Earth in danger. A global fair share target is 60% – and it is doable. Anything less is just not acceptable – it is a recipe for ecocide. Canada’s target as announced fails future generations and must change; as must the Climate Plan. We must tackle the need to phase out fossil fuels 100% and transition to a renewable energy future.” – Lyn Adamson, Co-Chair, ClimateFast
“Canada could be a climate leader, but climate leaders do not deal in empty promises or half-measures. Climate leaders do not build pipelines through stolen land or sign off on enormous fossil fuel subsidies with the same pen they use to legislate net-zero by 2050 targets. Canada is the only G7 country whose emissions have increased since the Paris Agreement. But this is not only a crisis of emissions, it is a crisis of equality. Canada’s inaction on climate is a betrayal of the people and areas most affected by this crisis. Anything less than a commitment to reduce our own emissions by 60% by 2030 is an insult to those we continue to hurt with our inaction. It is time for Canada to get serious on climate, to wind down the oil and gas industry and support workers through the transition rather than continue delaying the inevitable.” – Alyssa Scanga, Youth Organizer, Climate Strike Canada
“Canada is a wealthy nation that has been among the top 10 emitters of greenhouse gases for decades. We helped create the climate crisis that threatens the future of our children. We must make a deeper commitment to fight climate change and we must have a realistic plan for keeping that commitment. We must stop investing in the oil and gas sector. We must invest deeply in energy efficiency and renewable energies; in walkable, bike-able and transit-supportive communities. These investments will reduce air pollution and improve health, while creating new jobs and fuel savings.” – Kim Perrotta, Executive Director, Canadian Health Association for Sustainability and Equity (CHASE)
“Canada has increased its ambition on climate change, but reductions of 60 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 are needed to limit climate-related risks and impacts that are disproportionately affecting women and marginalized communities. We call on Prime Minister Trudeau to ensure environmental justice and gender justice are central to Canada’s climate actions. In addition to domestic actions, this will require Canada to commit at least $1.8 billion a year of public investments in climate finance in order to support women and other vulnerable people in developing countries to respond and adapt to climate change.” – Anya Knechtel, Policy Specialist, Oxfam Canada
“New Brunswick risks undermining the province’s capacity to protect its citizens and compete in a decarbonized global economy if it fails to develop its own electrification and decarbonisation plan to reach near zero by 2050 and 60 per cent by 2030, a level that would see the province’s emissions fall to 5 million tonnes in 10 years. While the province’s emissions currently are in line with the new proposed federal target of 40 to 45% below 2005 by 2030, other federal requirements apply regardless of where our province’s emissions are, including the need to phase out coal from electricity generation by 2030, meet the requirements of a clean fuel standard, and a rising carbon price reaching $170/tonne by 2030.
“New Brunswick has a hard work to do, just like all provinces, and every country in the world to ensure we get on a path that avoids 1.5 degrees warming. We can’t negotiate with the atmosphere. The global carbon budget is small and rapidly declining. The province needs to comply based on the laws of physics, not politics.” – Louise Comeau, Director of Climate Change and Energy, Conservation Council of New Brunswick
“Prime Minister Trudeau’s announcement today that Canada will reduce emissions by 40 to 45 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 represents a big step forward. Still, we absolutely must go further. Under the banner of For the Love of Creation, people of faith, national churches, and faith-based organizations have been active in the call for Canada to reduce national greenhouse gas emissions by 60 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, and invest in a just transition to a fair, inclusive, green economy that creates good secure jobs, and promotes the well-being of everyone in Canada. Canadian climate ambition continues to be undermined by federal support to the oil and gas sector and a failure to embrace transformational change to ensure the liveability of the planet and the flourishing of all creation.” – Karri Munn-Venn, Senior Policy Analyst, Citizens for Public Justice
“Today’s announcement of Canada’s new climate target does not deserve much celebration. While an improvement over from its previous, even more inadequate, pledge, this target does not represent what Canada could and should do to reduce emissions at a pace necessary to prevent a climate catastrophe and human rights disaster. It also places an excessive burden on developing countries. With such a weak target, Canada is effectively saying that poorer countries, who are less responsible for climate change, must also halve their emissions by 2030. It’s time the Government of Canada started treating climate change like the global emergency it is by acting in a manner proportional to the scale of the crisis and in line with its full capacity and responsibility.” – Fiona Koza, Business and Human Rights Campaigner, Amnesty International Canada
“As part of the Arctic, the Yukon is already experiencing the impacts of the climate crisis. While we applaud the increase from Prime Minister Trudeau’s recent budget announcement of 36% emissions reduction to a murky number between 40 to 45%, sadly this goal does not account for the increasing emissions in Canada. Considering that Canada is one of the world’s biggest producers of greenhouse gas emissions, our minimum Fair Share would be a 60% emission reduction by 2030. We call on the Federal Government to reassess their target.” – Coral Voss, Executive Director, Yukon Conservation Society
“In its latest report on the State of the Global Climate, the World Meteorological Organization stated that we need deep reductions and immediate action on the climate crisis. However, Canada’s carbon emissions reduction target is not adequate and does not include emissions from the military. The Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces are the biggest emitters in the federal government. The Trudeau government continues to make massive investments in fossil-fuel powered militarism like new tanks and fighter jets. To stop global warming, we need to stop war.” – Tamara Lorincz, Canadian Voice of Women for Peace
“Canada needs to sharply ramp up its climate action. Our country is now officially a climate laggard. We have the weakest 2030 carbon reduction target of G7 countries, the lowest level of financial assistance in the G7 for developing countries to address climate impacts, and second in the G20 in fossil fuel subsidies. Setting low goals means getting weak action. Today, Prime Minister Trudeau explicitly named the biggest barrier to Canada being a climate leader: the production and export of dirty oil. Now he needs to address that problem by phasing out all fossil fuel production and use.” – Dale Marshall, National Climate Program Manager, Environmental Defence
“The Road to Net Zero needs all hands on deck. We have a very good made-in Canada Just Transition model to work from: the 2019 National Task Force on Just Transition for Canadians. Coal Power Workers and Communities set out strong principles and recommendations to guide Just Transition. Let’s implement them! Getting it right is about good sustainable jobs and strong Communities. Just Transition is the bridge that takes us there.” – Joie Warnock, Assistant to the President, Unifor
For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Pamela Daoust, National Communications Director, Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE) firstname.lastname@example.org