This is one of the 26 segments of Guy Dauncey’s Climate Emergency: A 26-Week Transition Program for Canada. Excerpted by permission.]
We have formed a Climate Emergency Advisory Committee that will meet monthly, chaired by the Prime Minister. We invite participation from all MPs who agree that we are facing a climate emergency and who are willing to work together on a comprehensive set of integrated climate solutions. The Committee’s mandate is to upgrade the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change targeting a 65% reduction in Canada’s 716 megatonnes (Mt) of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and 100% by 2040. This is our new Nationally Determined Contribution to the Paris climate accord. Some will argue that this is not fast enough, and we welcome suggestions that could speed the pace of transition.
We need to work together to manage a just and equitable phase-out of Canada’s fossil fuel supply. This broad objective will mean leaving most of the country’s remaining coal, oil, and gas resources in the ground, and accordingly, we will not approve the Teck Resources Frontier expansion in Alberta’s oil sands, which would add 6 Mt of GHG emissions every year.
We will introduce a Climate Accountability Act, establishing legally binding five-year emissions-reduction targets for every sector of Canada’s economy. At the beginning of each year, an independent Climate Commission will produce a professional assessment of progress and make recommendations for further action. Each year in September, the Minister for Climate and Environment will present a climate action program with short-term and long-term initiatives showing how the government will achieve its goals. At the end of each year the Minister will face an examination in Parliament, when Members of Parliament will decide whether the government is complying with the Act or whether it should be required to act further. Models: British Columbia, Denmark.
We will introduce a Wellbeing of Future Generations Act, making it a legal requirement for all public bodies to consider the long-term impact of their decisions, and how they will affect future generations with regard to their positive or negative impact on climate, ecology, inequality, housing affordability and private household debt. Model: The Welsh Assembly, Wales.
We will advance legislation on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), with the goal of passing it by the end of 2020.
We will measure Canada’s Wellbeing annually, including regional and local differences, and prioritize actions that increase the wellbeing of Canadians and nature. Models: New Zealand, Iceland, Scotland, Bhutan.
We will apply a Negative Climate Discount Rate of -3.5% to all economic modeling done by or for the federal government, and expect to see the same in third party economic modeling. The traditional accountancy practice of applying a 3% to 5% discount rate to future costs is based on the old assumption that they will be easier to bear due to productivity increases and economic growth. When a climate and ecological risk lens is applied, combined with an inequality, debt and housing affordability risk lens, it becomes clear that this assumption is no longer valid. Future costs will be harder to bear, not easier.
We will require Climate Impacts Scorecards for all proposed federal legislation, including our 2021 federal budget. We will apply a climate lens to all applications for federal money, including procurements, loans, grants, export supports and infrastructure project investments. Model: New Zealand’s announcement, December 2019.
We will advance legislation to establish a Sustainable Procurement Duty for the $20 billion of goods and services that the government purchases each year. The Act will require that before a contracting business or agency supplies anything to the government it must demonstrate how it can improve the social, environmental and economic wellbeing of the area in which it operates, with a particular focus on reduced climate pollution, the involvement of small and medium enterprises and social enterprises, the promotion of innovation, reduced inequality, and hiring people who experience barriers to employment. These types of condition are also described as Community Benefit Clauses. Model: Scotland.