The Honorable Jonathan Wilkinson
Minister of Environment and Climate Change
House of Commons
Ottawa (Ontario) K1A 0A6

Minister Wilkinson,

We wanted to take this opportunity to congratulate you on your appointment as the Minister of Environment, and to address the critical moment presented by the 25th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. COP25 is significant because it is the last conference before 2020 when all countries will submit new, updated national climate action plans. This is an opportunity for you to show Canadians that you heard their message.

We need urgent and unprecedented action because climate change is putting everything we value at risk.

Canada is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world, and we produce more greenhouse gases per capita than any other G20 country. We are already seeing the impacts of forest fires and extreme weather. In 2018, insured losses from severe weather events across Canada totalled $1.9 billion. We are seeing a decline in insects and pollinators vital to our food security, the loss of species and biodiversity, as well rising sea levels and climate migration. Canadians are worried about their own future and future of their children and their grandchildren.

We need to be bolder and much more ambitious. We need to signal that the status quo is unacceptable. Canada must take emergency action to dramatically reduce emissions and encourage other countries to step up with us. We need to lead.

And, leadership takes more than words. Canadians and people around the world deserve more than empty promises, denials and delays.

COP25 is where we get to see if our Prime Minister got the message. Will he continue to be the kind of leader who talks about addressing the climate crisis while giving massive subsidies to big oil companies, who says he will protect the environment while letting big polluters off the hook, who declares a climate emergency one day and approves a pipeline the next?

It is unacceptable to leave Canadian families and communities to deal with the climate crisis on their own.

We need a climate plan that lifts people up. The move to a low-carbon economy is an opportunity that should benefit everyone. We need a plan that tackles the housing crisis with green public housing and invest in communities to help people adapt to the challenges climate change is already causing. Our climate plan should create good, family-sustaining jobs in every community. The climate crisis is not the fault of workers and they should not pay the price of successive Liberal and Conservative governments’ inaction. We need to create job opportunities with programs like energy retrofits and infrastructure projects. A credible plan should prioritize reconciliation with Indigenous communities. It should support communities who are working to be climate leaders with free, electrified transit, and it should invest in the clean energy economy while ending all fossil fuel subsidies.

We need a climate plan that is in line with science. We need tough and more ambitious new emissions reductions targets in line with the most recent IPCC report. Our targets need to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees, and we need to put those science-based emissions targets into law. We also need interim targets, along with transparency and accountability mechanisms. Canadians are tired of governments setting targets without any real intention of meeting them, without any real accountability.

We are running out of time. We cannot afford to delay. We cannot afford to hand out billions to big oil companies while ignoring the climate emergency. We cannot afford business as usual.

We are calling on you, as the Minister of Environment, to show leadership at COP25 by announcing new emissions reductions targets in line with limiting warming to 1.5 degrees paired with accountability mechanisms and committing to eliminate all fossil fuel subsidies.

The time to act is now.

Sincerely,

Laurel Collins
MP for Victoria
NDP Critic for Environment and Climate Change

Alexandre Boulerice
MP for Rosemont—La-Petite-Patrie
NDP Deputy Critic for Environment and Climate
Change