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431-00098 (Environment)

PETITION TO THE HOUSE OF COMMONS IN PARLIAMENT ASSEMBLED

We the undersigned Canadian youth respectfully request that the House of Commons give serious consideration to the following:

WHEREAS, the impacts of climate change are accelerating in Canada and around the world, leading to Canada declaring a Climate Emergency, Canadian youth are anxious that they are being left with an uncertain future in which we can grow, survive, and thrive.

THAT, Canada has endorsed the Paris Agreement to limit global temperature rise to well below 2 °C in order to avoid the most disastrous effects of climate change, yet greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have failed to decline in Canada;

THAT, Canada's current GHG reduction targets are not consistent with doing our fair share to meet the global goals agreed upon in Paris to mitigate climate change;

THAT, subsidizing fossil fuel production, export and expansion, including new pipelines, are NOT compatible with the stated goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions;

THAT, the government's continued support of the fossil fuel industry, in spite of scientific evidence of the cumulative damage of emissions, puts our future in danger;

THAT, youth want jobs that are sustainable and not for short-term gain at the expense of future generations.

THEREFORE, your youth petitioners, and those who care deeply about youth, call upon the House of Commons to take meaningful steps to support the future of young Canadians and fulfill Canada's obligations under the Paris Agreement by adopting a detailed climate action strategy that includes legislated science-based targets for greenhouse gas reduction with a plan to meet them, including but not limited to: implementing a comprehensive and steadily rising national carbon price beyond 2022 that rises to at least $150/t by 2030; eliminating fossil fuel subsidies and redirecting those investments into renewable energy systems, energy efficiency, low-carbon transportation, and job training.

Response by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): The Honourable JONATHAN WILKINSON

Canadians are already feeling the impacts of climate change and extreme weather such as the changing intensity and frequency of flooding, storms and wildfires, coastal erosion, extreme heat events, thawing permafrost and sea level rise. These impacts pose significant risks to the safety, security, health and well-being of all Canadians, our communities, the economy and the natural environment. Following adoption of the Paris Agreement in December 2015, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) invited the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to prepare a Special Report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 degrees and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways. Released in October 2018, the report found that globally, net anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions need to reach ‘net zero’ by 2050 to meet this goal.  

To contribute to the achievement of the Paris Agreement, and in pursuit of efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, the Government of Canada is committed to exceed Canada’s 2030 emissions reduction goal of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 30% below 2005 levels and working to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. The goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 also responds to the IPCC’s latest scientific assessment.

Canada’s climate plan, the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change, adopted on December 9, 2016, is a comprehensive plan which includes both individual and joint federal, provincial and territorial climate actions to reduce emissions, accelerate clean economic growth, and build resilience to the impacts of climate change. This plan was developed in collaboration with provinces and territories, and with input from Indigenous Peoples, businesses, civil society and Canadians across the country.

The Pan-Canadian Framework outlines over 50 concrete measures to reduce carbon pollution, help us adapt and become more resilient to the impacts of a changing climate, foster clean technology solutions, and create good jobs that contribute to a stronger economy. Key measures include:

  • Regulating methane emissions in the oil and gas sector, which will reduce carbon pollution by about 16.5 million tonnes in 2030;
  • Accelerating the phase-out of coal-fired electricity generation by 2030, as part of our efforts to have 90% of electricity from non-emitting sources, and supporting workers and communities transition to a low-carbon economy;
  • Developing “net-zero energy ready” building codes to be adopted by 2030 for new buildings;
  • Establishing mandatory labeling of building energy use to provide businesses and consumers with information on energy performance, and setting new standards to improve the energy efficiency of appliances and equipment;
  • Encreasing the stringency of emissions standards for light- and heavy-duty vehicles, and taking steps to improve efficiency and support fuel switching in the rail, aviation, marine and off-road sectors;
  • Adopting a Climate Lens to ensure that future climate impacts are considered and addressed in all federally funded infrastructure projects; and,
  • Establishing a new Canadian Centre for Climate Services, giving Canadians better access to climate science and information.The Government of Canada recognizes the importance of tackling climate change while growing the economy as a means of creating jobs and ensuring competitiveness. Since 2015, the Government of Canada has committed about $60 billion to reduce emissions, adapt to a changing climate, and support clean technology innovation and the transition to a clean growth economy. Commitments include:
  • More than $28 billion to support public transit, including over 1,211 transit projects approved;
  • $26.9 billion to support green infrastructure, including support for renewable energy, electric vehicle charging, natural gas and hydrogen refuelling stations, clean energy in rural and remote communities, and climate adaptation and resiliency initiatives (e.g., flood mitigation under the $2-billion Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund);
  • $3 billion to support the development, adoption and scale-up of clean technologies;
  • Over $2 billion to help cities and towns adapt to and manage the impacts of climate change, delivered through the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (e.g., $75 million for the Municipal Climate Innovation Program, $50 million for the Municipal Asset Management Program, and over $1 billion in support for building energy efficiency investments);
  • $2 billion to generate clean growth and reduce carbon pollution from buildings, industries, forestry, and agriculture, by leveraging investment in projects through the Low Carbon Economy Fund;
  • The $1.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan, to improve marine safety and responsible shipping;
  • $1.3 billion for nature conservation;
  • $300 million to provide Canadian drivers and businesses with purchase incentives for zero-emission vehicles;
  • Over $64 million to help rural, remote and Indigenous communities transition off diesel fuel;
  • $108 million to establish the Canadian Centre for Climate Services, which is improving access to trusted, useful and timely climate information and data to support adaptation decision-making; and
  • Over $100 million in targeted federal funding to support specific economic sectors (such as transportation, agriculture, and health) and communities, including Indigenous and Northern communities (e.g., $52 million for the First Nations Adapt Program and $47 million for Climate Change Preparedness in the North).The PCF identified carbon pollution pricing as an important and cross-cutting mitigation measure. It is an area that has benefited from substantial leadership from several provinces. In October 2016, Prime Minister Trudeau announced the Pan-Canadian Approach to Pricing Carbon Pollution (federal stringency requirements).This pan-Canadian approach to carbon pricing is a practical and cost-effective way to address climate change and will contribute to substantial emissions reductions, stimulate innovation, clean growth and jobs for the middle class. By putting a price on carbon pollution, the Government of Canada is fulfilling our commitment to address climate change in the most effective and economical way possible. The stringency of the carbon pricing system needs to increase over time and this should be based in legislation – to provide certainty to businesses and consumers and contribute to our national GHG emission reduction target.
  • For jurisdictions implementing an explicit price-based system, the carbon price started at $20per tonne in 2019, and will rise by $10 per year to $50 per tonne in 2022.
  • Provinces with a cap-and-trade system need to have
  1. a 2030 emissions reduction target equal to or greater than Canada’s 30 percent reduction target; and
  2. a cap-and-trade system with declining (more stringent) emission caps (to at least 2022) that correspond, at a minimum, to the projected emissions reductions that would have resulted from applying the direct carbon price that year.

The Framework also committed to the federal, provincial and territorial governments to complete a series of reviews by 2022 in order to provide certainty on the path forward after 2022.

Canada’s climate plan is working. Canada’s most recent GHG emissions projections estimate that Canada’s GHG emissions in 2030 will be 227 million tonnes lower than projected prior to the Pan-Canadian Framework or 19% below 2005 levels. This improvement, equivalent to approximately a third of Canada’s emissions in 2005, is widespread across all economic sectors, reflecting the breadth and depth of the Pan-Canadian Framework. However, the Government of Canada recognize that more action is needed. This is why the Government will be implementing new climate measures including:

  • Developing a plan to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, and setting legally-binding, five-year emissions reduction milestones based on the advice of experts and consultations with Canadians;
  • Appointing a group of scientists, economists and experts to recommend pathways to net-zero;
  • A continued commitment to ensuring a price on carbon pollution is in place everywhere in Canada, as well as prioritization of measures including green buildings and communities, support for zero-emission vehicles, and clean electricity.
  • Working with businesses to make Canada the best place to start and grow a clean technology companies;
  • Completing all flood maps in Canada;
  • Planting two billion incremental trees over the next 10 years, as part of a broader commitment to nature-based solutions that also encompasses wetlands and urban forests; and
  • Introducing a new ambitious plan to conserve 25 per cent of Canada’s land and 25 per cent of Canada’s oceans by 2025, working toward 30 per cent of each by 2030. This plan will be grounded in science, Indigenous knowledge and local perspectives.

At the same time, we also recognize that oil and gas will remain important global commodities and that we cannot make a transition to a low-carbon economy overnight. Canada is committed to supporting the responsible development of Canada’s oil and gas sector as a source of good jobs. Pipelines are an efficient mode of transportation for oil and gas products and are required to undergo a robust and rigorous environmental assessment. Officials from my department participate in these assessments by providing scientific and regulatory expertise to determine the project’s potential effects on air quality and GHG emissions, water quality, species at risk, and migratory birds. The assessment process also allows decisions to be informed by consultation with, and input from, the public and Indigenous Peoples.

With respect to your concern on subsidies for oil companies, Canada is committed to fulfilling the G20 commitment to rationalize and phase-out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies over the medium-term. We have already made significant progress in the last couple of years, including:

  • Modifying the tax treatment of successful oil and gas exploratory drilling. Consistent with the usual treatment of enduring assets, expenses associated with oil and gas discovery wells will be treated as Canadian development expenses, which are deducted gradually over time, rather than as immediately deductible Canadian exploration expenses, unless and until they are deemed unsuccessful.
  • Removing the tax preference that allows small oil and gas companies to reclassify Canadian development expenses as immediately deductible Canadian exploration expenses when they are renounced to flow-through share investors. This will ensure that these development expenses, which create an asset of enduring value, are deducted gradually over time.

The Government of Canada understands the importance of limiting temperature increases to as little as possible, and that Canada must do its part. That is why the Minister supports the goal of the Paris Agreement to ensure that global average temperature rise does not exceed 2°C, and to pursue efforts to limit temperature rise to below 1.5°C. The Government of Canada is committed to support global efforts and continue implementing the Pan-Canadian Framework while strengthening existing and introducing new GHG reducing measures to exceed Canada’s 2030 emissions reduction goal, and beginning work so that Canada can achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. 

 

 

Presented to the House of Commons
Richard Cannings (South Okanagan—West Kootenay)
February 21, 2020 (Petition No. 431-00098)
Government response tabled
April 11, 2020
Photo - Richard Cannings
South Okanagan—West Kootenay
New Democratic Party Caucus
British Columbia

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