Take Action on Climate Change by Sept 20!
On June 26, 2007, the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act became law. Simply put, this law requires the federal government to meet Canada's Kyoto target, first by producing a plan to honour Canada's obligations under the Kyoto Protocol and then by putting that plan into effect through regulations and other measures. The federal government has opposed this bill from the beginning, voting against it at every stage in Parliament.
Under the terms of the law, the government had 60 days to produce a plan to meet Kyoto. The result, quietly released on August 21, is a document entitled “A Climate Change Plan for the Purposes of the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act 2007”
Sadly, this 37 page report merely re-iterates the flawed proposal the government announced in April - a proposal that would not reach Canada's 2008-2012 Kyoto target until sometime after 2020. The government is required to produce a plan to honour Canada's Kyoto obligations. It didn't even try.
You can do something about the government's inaction
A number of environmental organizations plan to ask the federal courts to rule that the government has failed to comply with the law. The courts have the power to order the federal government to live up to the requirements of the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act.
In the meantime, you can help a great deal. The courts often take note of the level of public concern for an issue in their consideration of environmental cases.
Climate Action Network Canada - Reseau action climat Canada has made it quick and easy for you to file your comments. You can complete CAN Canada's form (start by entering your name below) and the government will receive a copy of our sample letter with your name on it. If you prefer, you can customize the letter to make your own particular points.
Please take action as soon as possible. The deadline for public comments is September 20, 2007.
Environmentalists file lawsuit over Kyoto law
Mike De Souza
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
OTTAWA -- Environmentalists have recruited a high-profile Toronto business lawyer to take the Harper government to court for allegedly breaking a new law that requires it to honour Canada's international commitments to slash the heat-trapping gases linked to global warming.
The lawsuit challenges Environment Minister John Baird's response to the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act, a Liberal-sponsored piece of legislation that was adopted in the Commons through the united backing of the three opposition parties. Environmentalists are also seeking a court order to require the minority government to comply with the legislation.
Chris Paliare, who is listed in several guides ranking top Canadian and international lawyers, said he agreed to take on the case for free because he was offended by the attitude of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who recently touted himself as an environmental champion at a summit of Pacific Rim leaders in Australia.
"I just say it's the height of arrogance and [Harper] has got to answer for it, in my respectful view," said Paliare. On Wednesday, he filed a notice of application in the Federal Court of Canada, along with Ecojustice, a non-profit Canadian environmental law organization, and on behalf of Friends of the Earth Canada.
At issue is the new law that, among other things, obliges the government to table a report detailing how it will honour Canada's international Kyoto obligations to lower, between 2008 and 2012, Canada's greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 6% below 1990 levels.
However, Baird's response was to issue a report saying it is impossible to honour the commitment because emissions are now more more than 30% above that target. Instead, Baird has stuck with his own environmental plan, which calls for Canada to meet its Kyoto Protocol target by around 2025.
"Having looked at [the government plan] carefully, it doesn't come close," Paliare said. "The [law] says the government is required to run a marathon. Mr. Harper and his government haven't even done a five-kilometre run."
While he will work for free, Paliare estimated the case could wind up costing tens of thousands of dollars in court costs, depending on whether the government tries to delay the proceedings. But Friends of the Earth said it will cover the court costs, based on its principles.
"Deadbeat dads are unacceptable in Canadian society," said Friends CEO Beatrice Olivastri. "Non-compliance with this act, and the Kyoto Protocol, is also, we believe, unacceptable."
But Paliare challenged Harper to speed up the proceedings and prove that his concern for the environment is genuine.
"If you say that what you've done complies, we should be able to get into court in a month and do it in one day," he said. "If, in fact, the environment is as important as Mr. Harper says it is, and has said it is in Australia and everywhere else, every day that this isn't being adhered to, is a day, I say, of infamy for this country."
A spokesperson for Baird refused to comment on the specifics of the case, but insisted the government is not breaking the law.
"This government has respected the will of Parliament and out of respect for the law, we will meet the report-filing requirements of Bill C-288, while continuing to push forward with what Canadians want: real and concrete actions to fight climate change," Garry Keller said.
Posted by Arthur Caldicott on 19 Sep 2007