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Victory

Working for a strong climate accountability law to achieve net-zero by 2050

December 9, 2020

Strong climate laws are essential to tackling a climate emergency that is not going anywhere. The more robust our climate laws are, the better Canada’s chances are of avoiding the disastrous impacts of the climate crisis.

In November 2020, the federal government tabled Bill C-12 The Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act, which aimed to put Canada on the path to net-zero emissions by 2050 and finally hold the federal government to account for achieving its greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets.

While Ecojustice and other environmental groups welcomed the tabling of Bill C-12, we also noted that the legislation needed significant improvements to deliver true accountability.

The House Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, following submissions and witness testimony from Ecojustice and our partners, made important amendments to Bill C-12 — ensuring that forthcoming climate plans will include more detail and chart a clearer and more credible course for achieving emission reduction targets.

This new law will:
• Establish a long-term target of reaching net zero emissions in 2050;
• Set five-year milestone targets starting in 2030, with an interim objective in 2026;
• Require climate targets to be set 10 years in advance;
• Create a framework for detailed climate policy planning and progress reporting;
• Legislate a Net-Zero Advisory Body composed of diverse stakeholders and rights-holders to advise the Environment and Climate Change Minister on targets and plans;
• Require the Minister to consider the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in climate planning and target-setting;
• Mandate a legislative review of the Bill 5 years after its adoption.

Canada finally has a law that can deliver climate action and hold the federal government to account for building a safer, healthier, and more sustainable future for all.

In May 2020, Ecojustice lawyer Julia Croome was the lead author of A New Canadian Climate Accountability Act, which outlined how the federal government could introduce a law that could hold federal decision-makers in Canada accountable for reducing emissions.

Ecojustice then played a critical role in the introduction of Bill C-12 or the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act. Our legal experts and supporters engaged with elected officials at every step of the political process as Bill C-12 made its way through the House of Commons and the Senate.

The legislative process, particularly in the context of a minority Parliament, offered opportunities to strengthen the legislation and establish the robust accountability measures needed to ensure Canada delivers on our global commitments and achieves net-zero emissions by 2050.

The multi-partisan approach to strengthening and passing Bill C-12 was no small victory, and it shows that when it comes to facing down the climate emergency politicians recognize that Canadians expect them to work together.

The Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act is a crucial turning point for Canada’s legacy on climate action. In the grips of a climate crisis, Canada must take bold, brave, and progressive action for Canadians today and for generations yet to come.

This law implements a framework for the federal government to make the decisions necessary to get Canada to net-zero emissions — and be held to account for doing so.

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OTTAWA/TRADITIONAL, UNCEDED TERRITORY OF THE ALGONQUIN ANISHNAABEG PEOPLE – Environmental organizations Climate Action Network-Réseau Action Climat, Ecojustice, Équiterre, David Suzuki Foundation and West Coast Environmental Law Association celebrate the final vote in the House of Commons to adopt the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act (Bill C-12) and ask the Senate to prioritize passage of Bill C-12 before.
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A large, still lake spans wide to distant snow capped mountains.
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Climate accountability bill needs significant improvement to achieve net-zero emissions, experts warn OTTAWA/TRADITIONAL, UNCEDED TERRITORY OF THE ALGONQUIN ANISHNAABEG PEOPLE – Environmental organizations welcomed yesterday’s progress on the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act (Bill C-12), which has passed second reading in the House of Commons and will now be reviewed by the Standing Committee on.
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