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Letter: I applaud Canada’s Climate Accountability Law, but we could go further

‘I want my government to protect me and all life from worsening climate impacts. I want a permanent, strong climate accountability law’
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A few days ago, Bill C-12, the Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act was tabled in Parliament. I applauded City of Greater Sudbury council when it unanimously passed a motion last year to set a net zero emissions target for 2050. I enthusiastically applaud the Government of Canada for attempting to legislate the exact same target as did Sudbury and many other municipalities across the country and around the world. 

No one can reach this necessary goal alone. We all need to do our fair share.

It is obvious that this climate accountability law has its strengths and weaknesses. Tabled laws are this way. This mix of pros and cons will foster robust democratic debates as it winds its way through our democratic process. I look forward to seeing this bill perfected one idea at a time all the way to the Senate.

How would I improve it? First things first. Timing matters. This decade is the most important one during which we need to reduce emissions. The first change I would therefore make would be to reduce emissions by 60 per cent by 2030. Why go further than the recommended 45 per cent by experts? We are a super wealthy and very high polluting country. Enough said.

I would make many other changes but a significant one would be for every government, regardless of stripe, to listen to the advice of a standing independent body of apolitical experts as is the case in the United Kingdom. This would block a government from weakening or side-swiping needed strict targets. 

Climate change is a fact of life. Much change is already baked in. I want my government  to protect me and all life from worsening climate impacts. I want a permanent, strong climate accountability law. Yes, any government can always cancel this law, but I believe that such a move would make it most obvious who to vote for.

So join me in listening to the  parliamentary debates over this bill. Which parties applaud the basic idea of Bill C-12? Which parties seek to improve it, to make it the robust climate accountability law we all deserve? This will be the basis on which my next vote will rest.

Carole Lavallee