In a year of drought and unprecedented numbers of forest fires, Canadians en masse are being asked to face the reality of climate change. But in 2012, the federal government repealed the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act, the only piece of Canadian legislation which set mandatory targets for reducing greenhouse gasses or required monitoring of progress in achieving those reductions. As a result, Canada has the dubious distinction of being one of very few countries without “flagship climate change legislation”.
One of the top ten carbon emitters in the world, in 2013, Canada’s GHG emissions were 726 megatonnes (Mt) of carbon dioxide equivalent, 18% above its 1990 levels. Growth occurred primarily in the fossil fuel industry (who asked for the environmental law rollbacks of 2012) and transport.
Canadians are already experiencing losses as a result of climate change. For example, BC communities have suffered economic devastation by the Mountain Pine Beetle, whereas flooding has put Albertans on the hook for billions.
And while Canada is only responsible for a fraction of global GHG emissions, that fraction is having a real cost worldwide. As West Coast Environmental Law lawyer Andrew Gage writes:
Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions from the industrial revolution to present are about 2.2% of global emissions, and mix with the emissions from other countries, causing climate damages in communities around the world. If we focus on climate change impacts (400,000 deaths and US$700 Billion)*, Canada’s GHG emissions can be said to be responsible for 8,800 deaths and $15.4 Billion in damages each year.
Our children, and our children’s children, deserve a climate-safe future. Now – not in twenty years – is the time to build that future.
What are we doing to rebuild Canada’s environmental safety net? Discover our Solutions.
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