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press release

Ecojustice reacts to COP28 final agreement

December 13, 2023

OTTAWA/TRADITIONAL, UNCEDED TERRITORY OF THE ALGONQUIN ANISHNAABEG PEOPLE – Ecojustice climate program director, Alan Andrews, has responded to the final agreement arrived between Parties at COP28 in Dubai, saying:

“With this deal the world has taken another faltering step towards ending the fossil fuel era. 

“The adoption of language that finally acknowledges the necessity to move away from fossil fuels is a historic moment, that is credit to the environmental activists, Indigenous Peoples, and civil society from around the world who gathered in Dubai to counter the voices of the fossil fuel lobbyists

“Although better than the previous draft, the text still has the fingerprints of the fossil fuel industry all over it. We do not have time for false solutions, dangerous distractions and greenwashing — that this agreement risks giving fresh impetus.

“The climate crisis is a global existential threat that can only be addressed through international cooperation and solidarity. We have seen that Canada can play an important role in climate diplomacy. But to lead on climate internationally, it must act with more ambition at home.

“As one of the world’s biggest polluters, with large and growing fossil fuel exports, Canada has a responsibility to lead the way in the transition, by tackling its own carbon pollution — among the highest in the world — with a credible plan to achieve, then improve on, its nationally determined contribution. The federal government must progress with a strong cap on oil and gas emissions, which is essential to achieving Canada’s climate target.

“Canada must also tackle its exports of fossil fuels — starting by delivering on its commitment to ban thermal coal exports and help to secure the finance that low-income countries will need to pursue a cleaner and more equitable path to prosperity.

“Canada is failing to address a key root of the climate crisis, the continued flow of Canadian financial capital invested in fossil fuel development and extraction. The result is that we are falling behind other leading jurisdictions when it comes to regulating the interrelated financial and climate crises.

“The transition to a climate-safe future must be inclusive and equitable, ensuring workers and Indigenous Peoples who will be directly affected shape the transition in the places where they live and work.

“We are in a climate emergency, and it demands that all political leaders in Canada take action now to avoid a catastrophe, take responsibility for Canada’s emissions, and help build a safe, sustainable future for all.”

Ecojustice uses the power of the law to defend nature, combat climate change and fight for a healthy environment. Its strategic, public interest lawsuits and advocacy lead to precedent-setting court decisions, law and policy that deliver lasting solutions to Canada’s most urgent environmental problems. As Canada’s largest environmental law charity, Ecojustice operates offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa and Halifax.