EDMONTON – Ecojustice lawyers, on behalf of their clients, are in court this week to intervene in Premier Jason Kenney’s attempt to thwart nationally-coordinated action on climate change. Ecojustice is representing interveners, Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation and the David Suzuki Foundation in this case. The groups aim to reinforce legal precedents that have upheld the constitutionality of the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act and the federal government’s authority to establish minimum national standards to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Ecojustice previously represented the groups during Ontario and Saskatchewan’s legal challenges of the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act. In both cases, the courts confirmed the federal government has the power to step in when the province fails to effectively tackle climate change.
Ecojustice lawyer, Joshua Ginsberg, issued the following statement:
“Instead of taking steps to protect Albertans from the climate crisis, the Kenney government has chosen a political exercise designed to obstruct climate action. Both the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal and the Ontario Court of Appeal have already upheld the constitutionality of the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act and the federal government’s authority to establish minimum national standards to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We are in court this week on behalf of our clients to argue that the climate emergency requires, and constitutionally justifies, strong national action.
“Data has shown that if Canada were to adopt the IPCC global target for 2030 of 45 per cent below 2010 levels, even at current pollution levels, Alberta and Saskatchewan would use up 92 per cent of that budget. And yet, the Alberta government has decided to ignore its role in the climate emergency and obstruct attempts being made to implement nationally-coordinated climate solutions. This short-sighted decision puts all Canadians at risk.
“If we are going to stave off the worst impacts of climate change, every province must cut greenhouse-gas emissions quickly and implement a fair system to hold polluters accountable for putting greenhouse gas pollution into the atmosphere. We need to be able to depend on the federal government to protect the well-being of all Canadians by establishing strong climate laws and minimum national standards to reduce carbon emissions.
Otherwise, it will be young people and future generations that will bear the costs of today’s governments’ inaction on tackling the climate emergency.”
About: The University of Ottawa and Ecojustice, Canada’s largest environmental law charity, are partners in the uOttawa-Ecojustice Environmental Law Clinic, a problem-based educational learning course designed to help train the next generation of environmental law and policy leaders.