Needed Amendments to Bill C-12


Submission to the Energy, Environmental and Natural Resources Committee of the Senate of Canada

Needed amendments to Bill C-12

JustEarth, June 4, 2021

Who we are: JustEarth is an environmental NGO, based in Toronto, a member of Climate Action Network. Over the past year we have been speaking to MPs via Zoom on the need for a strong Climate Accountability Act for Canada.

Request to speak: When Bill C-12 reaches the Senate next week, we would like to speak in front of the ENEV committee to address our continuing concerns that the Bill is inadequate to meet the urgent need for strong action to prevent climate catastrophe.

Background: First, we acknowledge that certain amendments to Bill C-12 have been achieved in Committee to strengthen the Bill; especially the 2026 emissions objective and progress reports in 2023, 2025 and 2027 that will report on that objective as well as the 2030 target. Other positive amendments make the advisory body more independent, establish expertise standards and require emissions reduction plans to include annual projections of GHG emissions reductions, with a breakdown by sector.

Needed amendments: However, further strengthening is needed:

  • 10 year targets are not adequate. The UK sets 5-year targets and have been very successful at reducing emissions.
  • Bill C-12 does not require the Minister to transparently consider independent expert advice when setting the emission reduction targets. The UK act contains a requirement that the Minister listen to its advisory body, the Committee on Climate Change
  • The advisory body needs to be provided with the mandate and capacity to do their job. We expect them to be sufficiently well resourced to conduct the detailed analysis necessary based on the best available science to advise on targets and plans, monitor progress and prepare regular impact/risk reports. They must present their advice and reports to Parliament
  • Go faster than net zero by 2050. Greater efforts up front save time and money further along
  • 90% of net-zero efforts must occur through absolute emissions reductions, not offsets
  • Bill C-12 must also require the government to report on the status and direction of greenhouse gas emissions in sub-national jurisdictions (provincial, territorial, municipal and Indigenous).

In addition to these amendments to strengthen Bill C-12, we have the following two suggestions:

  • We recommend that a Chief Climate Scientist be appointed, with a supporting office, to play a role similar to that of Dr. Teresa Tam as Chief Public Health Officer, that is, to be a respected non-partisan source on the issues.
  • We feel there is a role to be played by the National Roundtable on Economy and the Environment this body. It could represent various sectors in developing the economic transition plans required to meet the targets set by the scientific advisory body.

 

The advisory body needs to be provided with the mandate and capacity to do their job. We expect them to be sufficiently well resourced to conduct the detailed analysis necessary based on the best available science to advise on targets and plans, monitor progress and prepare regular impact/risk reports. They must present their advice and reports to Parliament

In addition to these amendments to strengthen Bill C-12, we have the followin

We recommend that a Chief Climate Scientist be appointed, with a supporting office, to play a role similar to that of Dr. Teresa Tam as Chief Public Health Officer, that is, to be a respected non-partisan source on t

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