December 7, 2018 (MONTREAL) – This morning, a welcoming committee of various citizen and environmental groups warmly welcomed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his provincial counterparts in Montreal. The group reminded the political leaders that the current federal plan will not allow us to reach our Paris climate targets and that the conclusions of the latest IPCC report must be respected if we are to mitigate the climate crisis.
The IPCC report highlights that we have 12 years left to act. Global greenhouse gas emissions must be halved by 2030 to limit global warming to 1.5°C and avoid catastrophic climate change*. In Canada, we are far from reaching the GHG emissions reduction target that we set for 2030, and the current target falls short by 66 million tonnes of CO2.
The welcoming committee called for Canada to adopt much more ambitious targets and a plan of action that respects climate science and Indigenous rights, and that will lead us towards a just transition for all workers, youth and future generations. The committee also demanded that Premiers recognize that decreasing oil and gas production is necessary if Canada is to comply with the Paris Agreement and avoid a massive increase in extreme weather patterns, a phenomenon that we are already seeing all over Canada.
The First Ministers meeting took place during the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP24), which itself is occurring in a context pressed by the urgent need to act on the recommendations of the latest IPCC report which highlighted the catastrophic impacts of 1.5 ° C of warming.
Katie Ross, Youth Rising and Climate Justice Montreal organiser:
“Youth are rising all around the world to demand real climate action from our leaders. We cannot allow our politicians to sell our futures to oil companies, to jeopardize the health of our planet, and to further endanger the nations most vulnerable to climate change. It’s our future that’s at risk.”
Patrick Bonin, Climate & Energy campaigner with Greenpeace Canada:
“ Heat waves, wildfires and extreme weather are becoming more frequent and intense. They will only worsen if no real action is taken. Our Premiers can still save the situation if they act immediately. They bear a very heavy responsibility on their shoulders and they cannot back out now, especially not after the UNEP’s report just underlined, a couple of days back, that countries must work five times harder if they care to respect climate science and limit global warming to à 1,5°C.”
Aurore Fauret, Tar Sands Campaign Coordinator with 350.org :
“We’ve run out of time to implement small changes and incremental solutions to climate change. We need a bold, progressive vision for tackling climate change, supporting workers through the transition and living up to promises of reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. We need something like the Green New Deal, or a Good Work Guarantee that will transform Canada from one of the world’s highest per capita emitters into a real climate leader.”
* The First Ministers meeting takes place a few days after the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) published a report showing that countries’ current ambition level “must be almost tripled if aiming for a 2 °C scenario and multiplied by five if aiming for a 1.5 ° C scenario.
* In Quebec, 50,000 people participated in a climate march on November 10 in Montreal; 250,000 signed the Transition Pact; more than 200 municipalities representing more than half of Quebec’s population have adopted a climate emergency declaration.