Opinion: No more delays, it’s time for Prime Minister Trudeau to keep his climate promises

On election night, the federal Liberals didn’t secure a majority, but a climate mandate did. Nearly 60 per cent of voters in Canada cast ballots for parties promising action on climate change.

Now, environmental organizations representing millions of Canadians are urging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to listen to the majority -- climate-concerned voters -- and rapidly keep his climate promises.

The planet is on fire. We don’t have time to waste if we want to stave off more climate catastrophes.

Prime Minister Trudeau now has a chance to shake off his reputation for delayed action by swiftly delivering on his party’s climate promises and implementing the most effective climate actions -- regardless of which platform they originated in.

Poll after recent poll has shown Canadians rank climate change among their top concerns.

Communities from coast to coast to coast are bearing the costs of global warming.

This summer’s deadly heat wave saw western Canada break more than 100 all-time temperature records.

Hundreds of people lost their lives, forests burnt to a crisp and thousands were evacuated due to wildfires.

Meanwhile, the Arctic is warming at three times the global average.

The latest IPCC report is a red alert for our planet. The science is clear: if we want to protect lives, livelihoods and ecosystems by limiting warming to 1.5 degrees, we must accelerate our efforts to ditch fossil fuels and pivot towards low-carbon energy sources.

A majority of Canadians know there is no time to waste.

It’s why 60 per cent cast ballots for parties with stronger climate commitments -- the NDP, Liberals, Greens and Bloc Québécois.

Added up, these parties are projected to land 219 seats out of 338, far above the 170 seats needed for a majority.

Voters have spoken. They want climate action. And we can’t afford more delays.

On fossil fuel subsidies, a just transition, electric vehicles and more, Canada has a lot of broken promises and half-hearted climate policies that must be addressed.

In 2015, during his first election campaign, Prime Minister Trudeau promised to work towards phasing out fossil fuels.

Yet in 2020, the federal government gave nearly $18 billion in subsidies and other financial support to the fossil fuel industry.

Canada is the only G7 country whose emissions climbed since the Paris Agreement was signed.

We urge Prime Minister Trudeau to work with MPs across party lines and within 100 days:

  1. Establish a plan to end fossil fuel subsidies.
  2. Stop all new fossil fuel expansion.
  3. Deliver a clear timeline and strategy to implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action and UNDRIP.
  4. Restart the Just Transition consultation and urgently work to develop a transition process that is fair for workers and communities.
  5. Commit to our fair share of cutting at least 60 per cent of domestic emissions from 2005 levels by 2030.

Prime Minister Trudeau must adopt the most ambitious climate policies available and fulfill his own climate promises.

All party leaders need to step up, put party politics aside and work to protect our communities and the planet.

If the government keeps its climate promises and all parties work together for our climate, they’ll be listening to the majority of voters who want urgent, ambitious climate action.

If they don’t, our elected leaders will owe our children an explanation on why they squandered precious time instead of doing everything in their power to create a safe, liveable climate.

Authors:

  • Angus Wong, Senior Campaign Manager, SumOfUs;
  • Caroline Brouillette, Domestic Policy Manager, Climate Action Network - Réseau action climat Canada (CAN-Rac Canada);
  • Cathy Orlando, Director of Citizens, Climate Lobby Canada;
  • Laura Ullmann, Head of Climate, Greenpeace Canada;
  • Linda Kulkarni, Climate Strategy Group Co-Lead, Grandmothers Advocacy Network
  • Liz McDowell, Director of Digital and Campaign Strategies, Stand.earth;
  • Marc-André Viau, Director of Government Relations, Équiterre;
  • Seth Klein, Team Lead, Climate Emergency Unit.

For more information, visit nomoredelays.ca

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