What is the Council of the Federation all about? Right now the Council is the best hope for progress by Canada on the Climate Change Front.
Here is our letter to Premier Kathleen Wynne of Ontario. As a Provincial Premier she is a member of the Council. She and Glen Murray, Ontario Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, will be urging the Council to take steps to reign in Canada’s GHG emissions.
4RG supports this initiative by the Federation. Please use our letter of support as the basis of your own letter to Wynne and Murray follows.
The Honourable Kathleen Wynne,
Premier of Ontario
Legislative Building, Queen’s Park
Toronto, Ontario Canada M7A 1A1
Dear Premier Wynne,
On January 30, 2015 Canada’s Premiers will meet in Ottawa as members of the Council of the Federation to consider the issue of climate change. We congratulate you and your Council colleagues for this initiative. We are sure that you will make climate protection a priority on this occasion and the subsequent April meeting in Quebec City.
As you know, there is now a broad consensus that climate protection is affordable and achievable. To get there, we must transform our energy system, change the way we build our communities, manufacture equipment and appliances, and develop our natural resources.
The key to unlocking this climate-protection potential is first, to recognize there are limits to the carbon we can put into the atmosphere, secondly, to help by fairly reducing our emissions and lastly, saying “YES” to clean energy fueled by the sun, water and wind.
The next ten years are critical. Over that period, we must reduce consumption of fossil fuels that are the source of most carbon emissions. To do this we must check the growing supply of fossil fuels and stop building the expensive infrastructure that facilitates its consumption. If not, a changing climate will jeopardize the health and well-being of communities by making weather more extreme and varied.
Climate disruption makes it more difficult to be safe from flooding or to keep the lights or heat on in an intense rain or ice storm; it can affect how we grow food, manage our forests, and sustain our economy. We also need to reform agriculture, forestry and mining so that less carbon pollution is created from the way we use fertilizers, raise animals, and disrupt the soil and landscape.
The good news is that we know how to manufacture our homes, buildings, vehicles and equipment so that they perform the way we want them while using less energy. We know how to build, at increasingly affordable rates, renewable energy technologies that can generate the electricity we need to run our electronics, lights, equipment and vehicles, and to heat our water and homes using the power of the sun, wind and water. We know how to develop our cities and towns so that they are less car-dependent and give us more options for walking, cycling and using public transit. We know how to grow food closer to home using fewer or no chemicals. What we need now is to accelerate these trends.
In our view, the best long term solution to the many problems attendant upon climate change is well recognized:
Put a high price on carbon emissions to send a signal throughout the economy that polluting the atmosphere with Greenhouse Gases without paying for the damage this practice has caused must end.
That is why we have sponsored a Climate Change Forum on January 27th next where the topic to be considered is “Putting a Price on Carbon”. The Forum will review “Cap and Trade” and “Carbon Tax” two common pricing mechanisms.
We have reviewed the letter of the Climate Action Network Canada – Réseau action climat Canada of which we are a member. We have added our brief comments on some of the matters covered by their letter.
We believe that a carbon trading system works best when the auctioning of permits forms an important part of the system, offsets from inside and outside the jurisdiction are readily allowed and the maximum amount of linking with other jurisdictions is an integral feature of the system.”
The first and most important use of funds generated by carbon trading is to finance adaptation measures and to assist those affected by climate change. We note that the Green Climate Fund has 50% of its funds committed to adaptation.
Accelerate research and development in emerging renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies, including storage and CCS, with the aim of positioning Canada at the forefront of the global clean energy revolution.
Premier, we are optimistic that Canada’s efforts to fight climate change will be substantially advanced by these meetings. 4RG looks forward to working with you and your colleagues to promote effective climate protection efforts across Canada and to accelerate the transition to a clean energy system accessible to all Canadians.
Peter Jones On behalf of the 4RG Steering Committee