Rebuild Canada’s Role in the World Starting with Climate Action

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Friends of the Earth stands for a sustainable world of justice and peace, where people live in dignity and enjoy freedom of expression and conduct their lives with respect for future generations and the environment and kindness towards strangers and refugees.  To fulfill this vision of our world, we need not succumb to fear but act against violence, militarization and Islamophobia.  

Friends of the Earth Canada extends its condolences to families and friends of victims of terrorism in Paris, and we extend our solidarity to all the people affected by violence and terrorism.

Since the tragic attacks in Paris, the French government has unfortunately clamped down on civil liberties, announcing a state of emergency and canceling planned mass public events for climate justice.  But people’s voices will not be shut down. Friends of the Earth will continue to call for equitable action to protect people and the planet. 

While negotiations for the Paris climate conference should produce a new formal agreement, it will almost certainly fail to stop the catastrophic climate change occurring right now and escalating even as we study and report on it.

People of vision and courage committed to justice must speak now.  We must call for each developed country to do its “fair share” in equitable action at home and in the world.  For Canada, this means first, engaging the provinces in crafting a meaningful reduction target and embedding it in law.  Secondly, it means pledging a contribution of up to $4 billion dollars in international funds – over ten times the $300 million pledged by the Harper government last year to the Green Climate Fund.  

Critics of the “fair share” analysis suggest that $4 billion is beyond consideration.  But the previous federal government committed Canada to spending $9 billion to buy F-35 fighter planes adding on a $16 billion maintenance contract.  And, a 2012 analysis by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and various construction firms pegged the cost to replace Canada’s municipal roads, considered in fair, poor or very poor shape, at $91.1 billion, a figure that has only grown in scale.

Consider Canada’s “fair share” to the world for climate action at less than 5% of what we’ll spend on road repair and it becomes a workable figure in the budget planning of the new federal government.  

Re-building Canada’s role in the world, demonstrating our commitment to peace and justice means we must commit to meaningful, accountable domestic efforts while helping developing countries meet their emission targets with our “fair share” contribution.  We have a lot to make up for in Canada’s past lack of performance on climate change.    

Friends of the Earth Canada will have a team on the ground at the Paris COP.  Stay tuned for our Post Cards from Paris reports.