I’m working to hold my Member of Parliament and our government accountable to the people. We Canadians want a people’s climate plan — crafted and supported by us, the citizens and voters — and not a plan that yields to fossil fuel sector lobbyists and CEOs.
The Trudeau government will put forward a new national climate strategy for Canada before the end of 2016. We already know that oil lobbyists are gearing up to try and weaken any attempts to take bold action, and it’s up to us to make sure the voices of the people are heard first.
The plan will likely go into effect sometime in 2017. This will leave only 13 years for Canada to meet its Paris Agreement commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2030. This target cannot be met unless there is a freeze on the expansion of the Tar Sands and pipeline construction. In fact, all fossil fuel infrastructure expansion must stop, including LNG in British Columbia.
People’s Climate Plan
The People’s Climate Plan is organized and supported by a collective of organizations and local groups. It calls for the inclusion of three core pillars in a national climate plan for Canadians.
1. We want a plan that aligns with the science of climate change. Bold climate action ensures Canada meets its commitments to a 1.5°C world by keeping its fossil fuels reserves in the ground.
2. We want a plan that builds a 100% renewable energy economy. Bold climate action ensures Canada transitions to a 100% renewable energy economy by 2050, creating over a million clean, safe and rewarding jobs.
3. We want a plan that is justice-based. Bold climate action enshrines justice and reconciliation for Indigenous peoples, ensures no worker is left behind in the transition to a clean energy economy, and takes leadership from those hit hardest by the climate crisis.
Two Major Climate Plan Intangibles
1. Telling the Truth About Climate Change
An effective climate action plan begins by telling Canadians the truth about the impacts of climate change that they, their children and grandchildren are presently facing, in the here and now, not decades into the future. Our world has entered a new era of climate consequences brought on by a warming planet.
Climate truth is not easy to receive or to deliver. But we deserve to know, as scary as that may be. In fact it’s precisely because of the gravity of climate change that we need the clear facts. We are ready to face the music. We can take the truth. We need the truth to plan and prepare accordingly.
Margaret Klein Salamon is a climate psychologist who speaks about the transformative power of climate truth:
I have seen people go from passive and disengaged to mobilized, working with dogged determination to fight climate change and spread climate truth to others. These transformations are vitally important, because only people who allow themselves to be transformed by climate truth can provide the fuel for a heroic, fully dedicated, and ultimately successful social movement.
2. Political Credibility
Any climate plan for Canada that does not explicitly freeze the expansion of fossil fuel extraction — the Tar Sands — and infrastructure such as pipelines lacks all authenticity and credibility. By signing the Paris Agreement, Prime Minister Trudeau has committed Canada to a reduction of its greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. But we are heading in the wrong direction.
In 2005, Canada produced of 749 megatonnes of greenhouse gas emissions according to Environment Canada. The Trudeau government must now cut 225 megatonnes, down to 524 megatonnes per year — a formidable if not impossible challenge — to reach its target.
Canada’s 2015 Emissions Trend Report shows that emissions are actually on the rise — from 726 MT in 2013 to 766 MT by 2020. In March of this year Prime Minister Trudeau and the Premiers signed the Vancouver Declaration on Clean Growth and Climate Change pledging firm climate action going forward.
And yet official statements by these leaders are riddled with climate disconnects and climate doublespeak. Telling Canadians that the environment and the economy go together is misleading. The two will only go together when we have transitioned to a clean energy platform. Telling Canadians that the revenues from additional pipelines will help pay for the clean energy transition is bizarre. We Canadians are an intelligent people and we see political rhetoric when we read it and when we hear it.
Premiers Rachel Notley of Alberta and Elizabeth Wynne of Ontario have recently released their respective provincial climate change plan. Wynne says that “Notley’s blueprint to reduce Alberta’s carbon footprint gives the province more social licence to pitch for more energy infrastructure such as pipelines.”
It’s not possible to be a climate leader and to still promote any fossil fuel expansion — oil, coal or natural gas. The two do not mix. It’s like oil and water.
You Just Can’t Do Both!
The federal government has announced plans to hold community consultations across Canada leading up to the launch of national climate strategy in the late fall. This consultation process offers a unique, once in a generation opportunity for us to demonstrate the public mandate and support for an ambitious national climate plan. It’s time to join the People’s Climate Plan
Rolly Montpellier is the Founder and Managing Editor of BoomerWarrior.Org. He’s a Climate Activist and a blogger. He’s a member of 350.Org (Ottawa), Climate Reality Canada and Citizens’ Climate Lobby (Ottawa). Rolly has been published widely in both print and online publications. You can follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Pinterest.