MEDIA RELEASE: Cathy Orlando’s Statement on the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act

Sudbury ON: Cathy Orlando, National Director of Citizens’ Climate Lobby Canada has issued the following statement in response to the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act (C12).

Today, for the first time in Canada, a government-led climate accountability bill has been introduced in the House of Commons: the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act (C12). This act would enshrine Canada’s imperative to fight climate change in law, to ensure the country reduces greenhouse gas pollution from the most recent tally of 729 megatonnes in 2018 to its stated goal of net-zero emissions by 2050 using “the best scientific information available”.

The United Kingdom has had a climate accountability law since 2008 and they have met their climate targets, unlike Canada.

There is much to celebrate in Bill C12. Every five years there will be a GHG target review starting in 2030 and it must include key measures to hit those targets. There will be a special panel to advise the minister on how to reduce emissions, an independent review with 3rd party scrutiny, and annual risk and opportunity reports too.

The legislation says Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson must declare Canada’s 2030 target within six months of becoming law, though it includes a provision to extend that deadline. The Liberals have already pledged to exceed Canada’s current target, set by the previous Conservative government, to slash the country’s emissions to 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.

In his speech today, Minister Wilkinson acknowledged climate accountability Bill C311 that was championed by NDP-leader Jack Layton.  Bill C311 was passed in the democratically elected House of Commons on May 6, 2010. It was killed in the Senate with no debate or committee work by a snap vote led by Conservative Senator Pamela Wallin on November 16, 2010.

Citizens’ Climate Lobby Canada was quite familiar with Bill C311. A core group of us met online and cut our first teeth as climate activists helping to build political will for Bill C311 in the spring of 2010 prior to Citizens’ Climate Lobby Canada’s formation.  When Bill C311 was killed in the Senate in November 2010, our colleagues at Citizens’ Climate Lobby in the USA helped us keep calm, and carrying on and turn our focus to building political will for carbon fee and dividend.

At Citizens’ Climate Lobby we stand behind the politicians who stand behind the climate. There are now about 5,000 of us in 42 active chapters across Canada.

We are in a climate emergency. The federal government and at least 500 Canadian municipalities have declared a climate emergency.

Youths across Canada in the Fridays For Future movement are asking all of us to listen to the experts,  cooperate and not go back to the way the world was before COVID hit. Bill C12 will require that our politicians do just that.

Not only must opposition parties cooperate in the creation of this bill but so must all premiers in the Canadian confederation.

So for today, almost a decade to the day since the killing of Bill C311, for the sake of the next generation everyone must get behind this Bill C12.

I call on all adults, including politicians of all stripes and all levels, to act on the words of our young leaders: listen to the experts, cooperate on the climate crisis, and rebuild a better world post-COVID and post-climate emergency. To that, let’s work together and create the best possible Bill C12.

“If you want to be incrementally better, be competitive – If you want to be exponentially better, be cooperative.” – Unknown

Media Contact: Cathy Orlando 705-929-4043 cathy@citizensclimatelobby.org
Thursday, November 19, 2020

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Cathy Orlando has put her words to work for the climate by getting letters and opinion pieces published in newspapers in every province in Canada. When she’s not safeguarding the climate alongside the best volunteers on the planet, you can probably find her stargazing, dancing, reading books not about climate change, hanging out with her husband Sanjiv, and mothering her three cherished daughters.