Despite Canada's pledge to limit average global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, its efforts to date have been woefully inadequate for addressing the climate threat. Please add your name at the bottom as a co-signer on our open letter urging the Prime Minister and First Ministers of Canada to take bold action to confront climate change now.
Dear Prime Minister Trudeau and First Ministers of Canada,
As undergraduate and graduate students of Canadian universities, we are among the generations predicted to witness drastic global environmental change within our lifetimes1. In pursuance of climate justice for present and future generations, we recognize the necessity for our nation to take decisive and immediate action to mitigate climate change.
At the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris, the government of Canada was one of the 195 states that pledged to limit average global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels2. Fulfilling this pledge will require strong incentives for Canadians and our industries to invest in low-carbon innovations and climate solutions. A legally-binding price on carbon is such an incentive.
The provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec have already introduced various forms of carbon pricing. However, the current provincial schemes fall short of what is necessary to uphold Canada’s COP21 pledge. Economic modelling indicates a price of $200 per tonne of CO2 is needed by 2020 to reduce Canada’s emissions enough to stay below 2° Celsius, yet our nation’s highest carbon price in BC is frozen at $30 per tonne3. What Canada needs are bold and effective carbon pricing schemes in all of its provinces and applying to all emitters – ones that will foster sustainable economic growth while limiting carbon pollution.
It is abundantly clear that we must act now to reduce the substantial threat climate change poses to ecosystems, economies, and the well-being of future generations4. Therefore, as students throughout the country and across academic disciplines, we the undersigned call on the federal and provincial governments to jointly uphold Canada’s commitment to act on climate change by undertaking the following actions no later than December 12th, 2016*:
- Ratifying the COP21 agreement to render it legally-binding; and
- Implementing a carbon price of at least $30 per tonne of CO2e in all jurisdictions that applies to all emitters and has scheduled annual increases of $10 per tonne of CO2e.
This call to action should be acknowledged as only a starting point on our path to a low carbon future. We believe that we can continue to build other, bolder efforts off of this foundation. But the precedent you set today will determine the magnitude of social, economic, and environmental impacts that we, and future generations, will have to manage.
Our window of opportunity is rapidly drawing to a close. We ask you to begin the low-carbon legacy today and demonstrate Canada's commitment to a healthier climate.
* One-year anniversary of COP21 Agreement