FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
VANCOUVER – Hundreds of Canadian post-secondary students attending 57 institutions are calling on the Prime Minister and Premiers to undertake meaningful climate action and implement carbon pricing schemes across Canada.
The open letter, signed by 505 students and counting, calls for the federal government to first ratify Canada’s pledge to limit the effects of climate change – a pledge made at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris (COP21). The letter then calls for carbon pricing schemes to be implemented within all jurisdictions by 2017, and to have the carbon pricing apply to all emitters and contain scheduled annual increases.
“As undergraduate and graduate students of Canadian universities, we are among the generations predicted to witness drastic global environmental change within our lifetimes,” reads the open letter. “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.”
The letter notes that the existing carbon pricing schemes in Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec are inadequate. Research suggests that, in order to limit warming to 2° Celsius by 2100, a carbon price of $200 (per tonne of CO2e) is needed by 2020. By comparison, British Columbia’s carbon tax is the highest in the nation, but is frozen at $30 per tonne.
Since its launch, the open letter has gained considerable traction across Canada. Both Elizabeth May, Canada’s Green party leader, and Naomi Klein, author and climate activist, have lent their support to the initiative, sharing the letter through their social media networks.
Student signatories of the letter agree that the actions they ask for will not be enough to meet Canada’s climate targets. The letter states that “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 [our governments] set today will determine the magnitude of social, economic, and environmental impacts that we, and future generations, will have to manage.”
Embark Sustainability Society, a student-led sustainability organization based at SFU, initiated the open letter.
Executive Director, Embark