Calling for Ambitious Implementation of Canada’s Climate Framework
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Dear Prime Minister and Ministers,
The Pan-Canadian Framework on Climate Change and Clean Growth is a game-changing move for Canada. As a group of national organizations who represent the diverse interests of millions of Canadians across the country, including workers, businesses, farmers, health professionals, people of faith, and civil society, we write to acknowledge the historic significance of this document, and affirm our commitment to a new era of coordinated climate action at the scale science requires.
Global economic trends are clear: Canada’s long-term prosperity depends on our governments making the necessary investments now to ensure Canadian businesses and workers can participate in a global economic transformation already well underway. Our economic future requires us to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that put our livable climate at risk and lock in low carbon and affordable energy sources in every corner of our society. Only by doing so can we generate good, long-term jobs for Canadians, help Canadian clean technology firms excel in a global market expected to exceed $2 trillion per year by 2020, and enhance the competitiveness of our established industries by maximizing the efficiency and environmental performance of their operations. We must also use this transition to address economic inequities, advance the health of all Canadians, and improve the lives and livelihoods of vulnerable Canadians.
Just transition measures must be a hallmark of the way forward to ensure the necessary supports for affected workers and their communities are in place and to help build the broad-based consensus needed to meet our emissions reduction commitments.
We know that transitioning to a low carbon economy will also impose costs and present challenges. We must ensure that the challenges of this transition do not rest only on those who make their living in sectors that will be affected. We believe that climate policies can support our economic competitiveness and improve the health of Canadians if they are designed in a way that addresses their impact on business, workers and their communities.
Gone are the days of fragmented approaches and empty target setting. Canada has the opportunity to become a global leader in confronting climate change, and indeed the international community now looks to Canada with renewed hope. Realizing this potential means executing the Framework to its full potential and showing consistency between policy leadership and practical implementation. Canada could learn well from other jurisdictions that are successfully transitioning to cleaner energy sources while bolstering their economies and democracies as a result. We know the real work has just begun, and we stand ready to contribute now and for the years ahead as this transformative undertaking unfolds.
We the undersigned are ready to work with Canadian governments and private sector organizations to ensure the Pan-Canadian Framework is implemented with integrity and ambition Canadians deserve.
Specifically, we offer our support in:
- Prioritizing meaningful engagement characterized by shared decision making with Indigenous communities and the integration of Indigenous knowledge systems and world views into Canada’s climate change mitigation, adaptation and clean growth activities. This includes following-through with a commitment to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which incorporates the right to free, prior and informed consent.
- Bringing together workers, farmers and their communities, businesses, civil society and policy makers to ensure that just transition measures are integrated into all aspects of the clean energy transition;
- Launching the process promised in the Pan-Canadian Framework for Clean Growth and Climate Change that will bring the provinces and territories together to assess the competitiveness impact of the national program in 2020, and ensuring this process develops measures to protect Canadian business as the national plan to address climate change is implemented.
- Contributing detailed analysis and plans to maximize the good job and economic development potential of the clean energy transition;
- Increasing the ambition of our climate targets over time, in line with our Paris commitments;
- Shoring up robust oversight for the Pan-Canadian Framework and associated equivalency agreements to keep parties accountable to climate goals and increase transparency in government analysis and decision making, allowing Canada’s climate plans to course-correct in response to evidence and broad consultation with stakeholders;
- Implementing cost-effective solutions to reduce methane emissions that stimulate innovation, protect human health, and harness job-creation potential consistently across all provinces and territories;
- Rolling-out a robust federal backstop for carbon pricing that holds differing provincial systems to a common standard and supports governments in using carbon pricing revenues to protect Canada’s most vulnerable communities, including those with livelihoods in sectors that are most impacted;
- Opening the door to opportunities presented by Canadian innovation that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from fuels;
- Modernizing Canada’s electricity systems to produce healthy, affordable and low carbon energy and to accommodate distributed power generation, which empowers communities;
- Transforming Canada’s transportation corridors to improve the health and safety of Canadians, minimize greenhouse gas emissions from transport of goods while ensuring efficient access to markets for Canadian businesses.
The opportunities presented by the Pan-Canadian Framework are many; we must act coherently to harness them. Effective implementation will turn the Pan-Canadian Framework into a plan that sets us up to meet our Paris pledge and reshape common perceptions of what success looks like in Canada.
Together we can protect the planet, the health of Canadians, and the world’s most vulnerable communities while building a resilient economy that safeguards prosperity and social justice for generations of Canadians to come.