Letter for A Strong Climate Accountability Act

The government has taken an important step with the Climate Accountability Act, Bill-C12. However, the act needs to be stronger to support an effective climate plan and ensure that our country holds fast to its commitments, working to keep global temperature rise to 1.5°C. 
The more people who contact Government Ministers and MPs and express an interest in a strengthened Climate Accountability Act the better! Here is a letter from Toronto350 members. Consider adapting it for your own letters to MP's or pulling points from it and writing letters to the editor (some how-tos at the end of this post).

Photo by Karsten Würth on Unsplash

We, the people of Canada, stand at a crucial crossroad.

Currently the House of Commons is debating a Climate Accountability Bill which will formalize how we will set climate targets and deliver climate plans. Then, in the new year, the government is set to formulate the first detailed climate plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.

If a complete, effective Climate Accountability Bill passes and the subsequent plan, as recommended by climate experts, is followed, it will build our economy and society as we recover from Covid 19. It will move us forward into the thriving low carbon era that is arriving across the globe. On the other hand, if our government passes a Bill that does not work, we will miss this momentous opportunity. Now is the chance to get it right.

How will we benefit from moving forward in a well-planned way towards net zero?

An effective Climate Accountability Bill and plan would partner us with progressive nations who are already lowering their GHG emissions in order to avoid the worst effects of the climate crisis. It would reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 45 percent of 2010 levels by 2030 and to net-zero by 2050. (United Nations report 2018) In fact, Canada's fair share is closer to 60 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 (and an increase to International climate finance). To achieve that our first target must change to 2025.

Secondly, our economy would avoid the slump of a fossil fuel crash. Oil and gas subsidies and production would phase down as we replace these sources of energy with effective and truly sustainable ones. Many good jobs and revenue would emerge from launching such projects. Our nation would move into an evolved low carbon era for the people-- and from that we could create a buzz of activity, hope and the chance to thrive.

Furthermore, the biosphere could start to recover. Our physical and mental health would benefit from lower emissions and increased contact with Nature. A sense of community could grow as we work together on this urgent recovery and reap its benefits. Along with this, a sense of optimism could prevail; that we and our government are facing the most crucial moment of our time and solving it. Moreover, we would be creating a safer, greener present and future for our loved ones, communities and people everywhere. 

So what is wrong with the Bill?

The Government of Canada has offered us a Bill with crucial omissions. We do not accept it as is. So what changes would make it work?

Recommendations to strengthen Bill C-12: Adapted from Climate Action Network Canada

  • Set a 2025 target
  • Incorporate the best available science, international obligations, and equity principles
  • Strengthen the Advisory body’s role and ensure the body comprises of independent experts especially from science
  • Set minimum standards for planning and reporting, and a legal obligation to meet the targets
  • Set targets and plans well in advance, provide for earlier progress reporting, and strongly limit the use of international offsets
  • Ensure the federal government takes a leadership role and defends climate action, when necessary. Bill C-12 should also enable provincial initiative 
  • Uphold Canada’s commitment to enact UNDRIP and ensure that Indigenous peoples can be full participants in climate action
  • Ensure a just and equitable transition for workers

So what can you do?

Pressure the Prime Minister and ministers to amend, complete and pass the Bill with the above essential recommendations.

Climate Action groups are working hard at this, and Canadians in great numbers want an effective Bill passed. We need strong climate action that will work, setting us on a bright new path.

Therefore, fossil fossils must phase down. They destroy our biosphere and are plunging us into tragedies and devastation the world has never experienced. They cost us billions of dollars per year in subsidies for weak revenues and a demand that is dwindling. Government must not prop up this industry any longer but allow it to transition to a safer business model. Likewise, small modular nuclear reactors have no part to play in an effective climate plan, and should not be subsidized. They would produce long-lived hazardous nuclear waste as part of normal operations, come at a very high cost, are as yet unproven, and contravene our legal obligation as a party to the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management. 

So most Canadians refuse half measures which favor corporate interests that threaten our safety and well-being. Excellent sustainable policies are progressing in an increasing number of jurisdictions, such as the U.K., Scandinavia, Chile, certain states in the U.S. These jurisdictions are leaving us behind. In fact, per capita, Canada is near the bottom in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Yet we want to get down to serious business. We will use our own energy and talents to restore climate balance and an economy that makes sense for the people and the planet in this new era. We will work with the world with pride as we increase our genuine, science-based sustainable achievements. It is essential to begin at once with expert scientific oversight and action. This climate legislation must be strong enough to reduce our emissions quickly, starting now. The transition will create jobs and build the strength of our economy and our society. As the only way for a viable present and future, it is a priority. It not only must be done, it can be done!

This is our moment!  We are seizing it and acting while we still have time. We share this country and this Earth, and we are rising and working together for the sake of all we hold dear. Join us.   

For further information:

Climate Action Network https://climateactionnetwork.ca/2020/11/25/technical-recommendations-for-bill-c-12-the-net-zero-emissions-accountability-act/ 

With best regards,

Toronto  350        

To send to politicians....

1. Send to the Minister's listed below:

     Prime Minister Justin Trudeau  [email protected]

     Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland  [email protected]

     Minister of Environment and Climate Change Jonathan Wilkinson  [email protected]

2. Carbon Copy your own MP. Look up here if you need their information.

3. Consider following up with a phone call and/or an office visit!

To pull out parts to use for letters to the editor...

1.Watch for pertinent articles and respond to them as soon as you can, within a couple of days.

2.Link your letter to the article you've chosen and begin with a reference to it.

3.Make it personal, factual, interesting (try to share something new or in a new way) and brief (word limits are about 150 words).

4.Look for the proper email to send to and follow the publications guidelines. Here are three to get you started - [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]. 

5.Remember that even if you do not get published, the more letters editors receive on a subject, the more likely it will be considered important and get coverage of some sort.