MEDIA RELEASE: Citizen Lobbyists Bring Non Partisan Message to Solve the Most Urgent Challenge of Our Time

MEDIA RELEASE: Citizen Lobbyists Bring Non Partisan Message to Solve the Most Urgent Challenge of Our Time

For Immediate Release: May 27, 2019

Ottawa ON: For the 14th time Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) volunteers lobbied together on Parliament Hill on May 14, 2019. Among the 31 lobbyists included eight newly trained climate leaders, and three Fridays For Future youth strikers. Together these citizen lobbyists met with 19 of parliamentarians from all four political parties and brought solutions to solve the most urgent crisis of our time – the climate crisis.

On May 13, the volunteers participated in five hours of training and community building. The real life consequences of climate catastrophe  were vividly described when a CCL volunteer told the harrowing story of  her  adult children and grandchildren that were trapped on a Caribbean Island after Hurricane Irma. They dodged pirates, and escaped machete-wielding convicts for weeks while searching for food, water, shelter and rescue from their dire circumstances after their entire island was flattened and complete social breakdown reigned around them.

Three Fridays For Future youth gave speeches, led adults in a participatory dance and held their ground in a mock media interview – thereby showing adults who were the leaders in the room.

Lawyer Josh Ginsberg from Ecojustice walked the volunteers through the details of the Saskatchewan Ruling and how the federal government’s Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act is constitutionally valid. Two key rulings were that the “GHG pricing is regarded as essential” and “Climate change is doubtless an emergency in the sense that it presents a genuine threat to Canada.”

Recent reports, such as the IPCC 1.5°C ReportCanada’s Changing Climate report, the UN 1 Million Species Extinction report and the latest Mauna Loa CO2 reading of 415 ppm, highlight the need for urgent action.

Communicating the urgency of the climate crisis effectively was paramount in the minds of all the volunteers. Vince Schutt from Environmentum expertly guided to new levels of communication with Motivational Interviewing techniques.

Youth, scientists, local governments and citizens worldwide demand major changes to keep global warming below 1.5 °C and to have a chance of protecting our future from worldwide ecological collapse. Recent reports, such as the IPCC 1.5°C ReportCanada’s Changing Climate report, the UN 1 Million Species Extinction report and the latest Mauna Loa CO2 reading of 415 ppm, highlight the need for urgent action.

As of May 6, 2019, climate emergencies have been declared in 382 Canadian communities, covering over 10 million people. In August 2018, teenager Greta Thunberg from Sweden sparked the global Fridays for Future movement by striking from school to demand that leaders protect her future. On March 15, May 3 and May 24 thousands of Canadian youth are part of these Fridays For Future climate strikes. An international week of climate strikes is set for the week of  September 20.

“Our present challenge calls for a whole suite of beneficial solutions. With the right policies, including pricing carbon as a core component of a cost-effective climate plan, we can help save lives, improve health, conserve nature, promote equity and be poised to capture part of the 26 trillion dollar opportunity in climate smart growth by 2030,” said Cathy Orlando, CCL Canada’s national director.

Politicians were specifically lobbied for the following:

  1. Increase the national carbon price past 2022 as part of a plan for Canada to do its fair share in reducing worldwide greenhouse gas emissions by 45% below 2010 levels by 2030, as per the IPCC 1.5 °C report.
  2. Immediately identify and phase out federal subsidies to the fossil fuel industry that distort the market signal a carbon price provides.
  3. Establish CO2 equivalent fees for other GHGs, including measurable methane, nitrogen trifluoride, sulfur hexafluoride, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), nitrous oxide and perfluorocarbons, at a minimum.
  4. Study the replacement of the output-based pricing system for large emitters with border carbon adjustments to protect businesses that are genuinely vulnerable in the international marketplace.
  5. We need science-based, legally binding greenhouse gas targets, transparent progress reporting and cross-party cooperation. Please use the United Kingdom’s Climate Change Act (2008) as a model, which was the recommendation of Ontario’s Environmental Commissioner in: Climate Action in Ontario: What’s Next?

“Our volunteers went to Parliament Hill to help make sure that Canada continues to improve its commitments to protect civilization and all life from climate catastrophe. We want Parliamentarians to treat the climate crisis as the nonpartisan issue that it truly is,” said Orlando.

CCL Canada’s Pledge for 2019
 In 2016 our volunteers made a pledge: I acknowledge that there is a risk of losing political resolve on the gains we have made to secure a healthy climate in the lead up to the federal election in 2019. Thus, I am making the following pledge: I want to live in a democracy where all politicians of all stripes can get elected for pro-environmental policies not in spite of them. Thus, in my riding, I pledge to generate the political will for a liveable world. Specifically, I pledge to do my best to keep the discussions around the climate crisis and carbon pricing factual, respectful and non-partisan in my local media while doing community outreach and communicating with local leaders. All politics is local after all.

Please click here for the Make Tomorrow Conference Photo Album on Facebook.

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