Submission to Standing Committee regarding Bill C-12

Dear Minister Wilkinson and Bill C-12 Subcommittee,

We are parents and grandparents from the Ottawa/Gatineau chapter of For Our Kids. We are a network of parents and grandparents acting on our vision: a just and sustainable world where our kids can grow up healthy and happy. We represent 8 ridings in Ottawa/Gatineau and are made up of a variety of ethnic, cultural and professional backgrounds.

We recognize the World Health Organization’s statement that climate change “is the greatest health threat of the 21st century.” Our children are already living in a time of unprecedented loss of biodiversity and increasing natural disasters caused by climate change. Our children, and those unborn Canadians, will bear the brunt of our choices today. We are thrilled to see the development of C-12 Climate Accountability Act, and the commitment to make into law  net-zero greenhouse gas  (GHG) emissions by 2050.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded that achieving 45% GHG reductions by 2030 AND achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 are key to keeping the rise in the global-mean temperature to 1.‍5°C above pre-industrial levels and minimizing climate-change related risks. 

The omission of the 45% reduction in the current form of the bill is misleading. IPCC benchmarks require both 45% global GHG reductions by 2030 and net-zero by 2050 to keep any chance of stopping warming at 1.5%. The Act currently does not address the importance of 2030 as identified by the scientific community. We expect Canada to be a bold and ambitious global leader rather than what we are now- one of the biggest contributors to GHG per capita according to the OECD.  

During the 2019 federal election, the Liberal Party under Justin Trudeau’s leadership promised that it would exceed its NDC (Nationally Determined Contribution) if elected. Well, Canadians did elect a Liberal government and we ask you to live up to your promise. As the Bill moves through the House of Commons, we urge the committee to:

  1.       Set a 2025 milestone. We are a year into this pandemic, we need a green recovery and a plan in place for 2021-2025. 2030 is just too late.
  2.       Ensure all GHG emissions reduction targets are legally binding.
  3.       Follow scientific recommendations to and reduce emissions below the 2005 levels by at least 60 percent by 2030.
  4.       Establish three-year carbon budgets and reports, with independent oversight and consequences for overshooting budgets.
  5.       Require mandatory annual progress reports on Canada’s GHG emissions reduction targets to inform planning and help Canadians adapt to a changing climate.
          Explicit penalties for not meeting the targets areis needed. Without clear consequence to one’s actions, the Bill has no teeth (one only needs to look at
          repercussions around not following COVID regulations).
  6.       Include reporting on climate risks and impacts that can inform policy and carbon budgets within the Minister’s assessment reports every five years..
  7.       Establish a framework to enable provincial, territorial and federal governments to share responsibility for meeting our long term targets.
  8.       Ensure that an arm’s length advisory committee is created, composed of, at a minimum, independent climate science experts and Indigenous leaders, and advise on
          targets, gaps, emission reduction plans, impacts and adaptation. The UK has set up a very effective advisory board and could be the prototype for the development
          of this committee.
  9.       Establish a Citizen’s Assembly on Climate Change to work alongside the advisory committee.                                                                   

We are hopeful that you will include these recommendations in the Bill, making it truly effective and establishing a clear path to a net-zero future.

Thank you for your work on helping Canada achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions, for us and more importantly, for our children.

Yours sincerely,

For our Kids Ottawa/Gatineau

Will you sign?

Thank you to everyone who has signed their name to our Submission Letter. We submitted this brief with more than 90 signatures.  

Because of your actions, the Standing Committee for Environment and Sustainable Development heard from parents and grandparents: the current form of Canada's Net-Zero Climate Accountability Plan is not strong enough to protect our children from climate change.