Please Sign! Open Letter to Government of Canada on Climate Action


In November 1981, a statement signed by 78 prominent Canadians on Canadian foreign policy was sent to Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. The statement was later published in the Globe and Mail. Since then the Group of 78 has advocated peace, justice and planetary survival through its annual policy conferences and monthly discussions.

The accelerating and universal devastation due to climate change demands a response from all those in public office.  This open letter urges governments at all levels to act on the following key priorities to meet the urgent climate challenge. These are informed by the Group of 78, 2018 conference report.

  1. Mindsets must be changed to embrace the post-carbon economy:
  • Governments, educational institutions, the private sector and civil society must work together to make Canadians aware of the climate emergency and to secure broad public support for the necessary transformation of our society and economy.
  1. A more aggressive reduction of greenhouse gas pollution is needed:
  • Governments must commit to a national carbon budget to limit warming to 1.5C and a level of carbon pricing to meet that budget.
  • Governments and the private sector must apply a climate change mitigation and adaptation lens to policy decisions across all departments and agencies.
  • Governments must facilitate the managed decline of fossil fuel production that includes the elimination of all fossil fuel subsidies, the acceleration and scaling up of renewable energy production and infrastructure, and the widespread adoption of energy efficiency and conservation measures in order to replace our current dependence on fossil fuels as a source of energy.
  • A far-reaching and rapid transformation of our agriculture system is essential to reduce the greenhouse gases generated in producing and distributing our food.
  • There must be a just transition framework to support workers and communities impacted by these transformations.
  1. Building capacity at home and abroad to adapt to climate change impacts and vulnerabilities is imperative:
  • Governments must undertake thorough assessments of exposure and vulnerability to the impacts of climate change as underscored by a new scientific report from Environment and Climate Change Canada.
  • Canada should allocate $3-4 billion annually towards international climate finance in the form of grants for the period of 2019-2025.

The above recommendations emerged from presentations at the Group of 78’s annual policy conference in 2018, by Joanna Kerr, Gordon McBean, Rohinton Medhora, Mike De Souza, Dale Marshall, Scott Vaughan, Tracey Mann, Martin Settle, Karine Peloffy, and Curtis Lavoie.
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