Bold Climate Action
Because we live here.
Climate change is both the biggest challenge and the biggest opportunity that Canada has ever faced. While the consequences of failing to address climate change would be catastrophic, our transition to a green, sustainable economy will create good local jobs, shorter commutes, more livable cities, and cleaner air and water.
Our plan is to move to the virtual elimination of fossil fuel use in Canada by mid-century. Our short-term target is 40 percent below 2005 levels by 2025, while we are calling for 80 percent reductions below 1990 levels by 2050. These are ambitious targets, yet the scale and urgency of this challenge demands nothing less. As Canadians, we will rise to this challenge and, in doing so, create a strong, stable, and prosperous economy today and for our children and grandchildren tomorrow.
For Canadians to benefit from this transition, we need to elect Green Members of Parliament. Only Green MPs will stand up to defend our coastlines from increased tanker traffic, our rivers and parks from reckless pipeline projects, and our economy from further pursuit of high-risk extractive schemes that threaten Canada’s long-term prosperity. Only Green MPs will position our economy to reap the full benefits of the inevitable global shift to a fossil-fuel free economy.
Because we live here, our top environmental priorities are to:
Defend our coastal waters from risky pipelines and oil tankers
Only Green MPs will put our coastal communities first by standing against all new raw bitumen export schemes.
Kinder Morgan proposes a seven-fold increase in oil sands tanker traffic through Vancouver and Burnaby, while Energy East proposes to increase tanker traffic through the Bay of Fundy. These tankers would carry bitumen from the oil sands, mixed with toxic diluents to make it flow, a mixture that is impossible to clean up if spilled.
A single tanker accident would ruin our coast and the lives and livelihoods that depend on its health. That is why we recognize that the economic, social and environmental consequences of approving these projects is simply too high. We will take a stand and defend our coastline.
Poll after poll shows that the people of the West Coast will not allow this risky project. More than half of British Columbians say they oppose the Kinder Morgan expansion, including more than three-quarters of young British Columbians. Even the Ontario Energy Board has ruled that Energy East poses more risks than benefits. While the old parties use complaints about process to avoid taking a stand, or even fast track and support these projects outright, the Green Party is the only party standing up for the people and communities threatened by these projects.
Arrest the growth in oil sands expansion
Protecting existing jobs in the industry, creating new jobs by upgrading and refining existing production, and providing skills training for workers who have been laid off or who want to transition to more stable, long-term jobs. This strategy (more Peter Lougheed and less Ralph Klein) would actually help Alberta’s economy avoid the disruptive boom and bust cycle.
Given climate realities and volatile international oil prices, expanding oil sands production is simply not on. Most of the bitumen in the Alberta oil sands must remain in the ground. We will create new jobs in Canada’s oil and gas sector by refining the product we already produce, rather than shipping it out raw for refining in other countries.
In addition to increasing our refining capacity, Canada should be leading the global clean technology industry – an industry that has boomed in other countries like Germany, where over 1.4 million clean-tech jobs generate over 11 percent of the country’s GDP.
We need to respect the oil sands workers whose livelihoods still depend on the industry, and to support the tens of thousands of oil sands workers who have recently been laid off. Canada should provide these workers with retraining to ensure they find good, long-term reliable jobs close to home, not jobs that are vulnerable to cycles of boom and bust and often thousands of kilometres away from their families.
We must also provide urgent support to First Nations living downstream from the oil sands, whose communities and traditional foods are being contaminated by oil sands pollution in the Athabasca water and air sheds, with devastating health consequences.
Implement a robust Canadian Climate and Energy Strategy
Partnering with the provinces to price carbon, implement a Canadian Fee and Dividend Plan, rapidly phase out coal-fired electricity, and transition to a prosperous, decarbonized economy.
Climate and energy are two sides of the same coin. We urgently need a comprehensive, science-based national climate strategy to address rising sea levels, drought, extreme weather events, changing rainfall patterns, increased forest fires, melting permafrost and crumbling Arctic infrastructure.
A robust Canadian Climate and Energy Strategy begins with eliminating all fossil fuel subsidies. Canada currently provides more than $1 billion dollars a year in subsidies to the fossil fuel industry, meaning, on a per capita basis, Canadian taxpayers provide more handouts to the fossil fuel industry than almost every other country in the G20.
Reducing our reliance on fossil fuel exploitation also means reducing our reliance on Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) development. Liquefying natural gas requires enormous amounts of energy, and new investments for export are inconsistent with our commitment to move toward a low carbon future. There are better more sustainable ways to take advantage of this resource, provide stable well-paying jobs, and reduce the negative environmental impacts. Our position on LNG development involves: respecting First Nations land claims and rights; repealing the federal 30% tax break for LNG investments; adopting the international shipping safety standards set by the Society of International Gas Tanker and Terminal Operators; expanding marine protected areas around proposed LNG projects; and banning industrial seawater cooling systems.
Next, we must work together to put a national price on carbon. In the complete absence of federal leadership, the provinces have taken up the challenge of climate change on their own. Although some progress has been made, notably in British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec, this patchwork of climate strategies is an inefficient way to tackle an issue that faces all Canadians.
The Carbon Fee and Dividend Plan is the smartest, most efficient, and most effective way to shift away from burning fossil fuels. We will place a fee on carbon, and pay the funds it generates directly to every Canadian over age 18 in the form of an annual carbon dividend. This plan will defend our climate, diversify our energy mix, grow our economy, and ensure energy security for Canadians.
Most economists and climate scientists agree that fee and dividend provides an efficient and comprehensive solution to a complicated problem. British Columbia has had a carbon pricing plan in place since 2008, during which time BC’s fuel use has dropped 16 percent, while GDP has outperformed the rest of Canada. It incentivizes investment in sustainable jobs and green technology, discourages waste and pollution, and puts money directly back into the pockets of average Canadians.
We need to invest in an infrastructure that promotes renewable energy, a more robust east-west electricity grid to promote renewable energy transmission between provinces, while reducing the enormous waste in our energy systems. We still waste more than half the energy we use. It’s time to save money and reduce pollution by going after waste.
Create a National Transportation Strategy with strict new rules on rail safety
Strict new rail safety laws and new investment for Canada’s rail system - Restore Canadian railways with new funding and stronger rules to ensure efficient rail travel and safe movement of hazardous industrial goods including oil and gas.
Canada’s national rail systems are in decline. In much of Canada, rail routes that once moved thousands of people are abandoned. Edmonton to Calgary, Saskatoon to Regina, Halifax to Sydney have all been axed, despite their profitability.
Green MPs will re-invest in our national rail systems, building more train cars in Canada, increasing train speeds, phasing in high-speed rail where feasible, and creating green transportation and energy infrastructure corridors in key regions. An improved rail system will make Canada more economically competitive, create thousands of new jobs, reduce traffic congestion, and provide a fast, inexpensive and safe mode of transport in key commuter corridors.
We will develop a national transportation strategy – investing in local public transit and expanding VIA Rail to provide more modern, efficient, and frequent passenger rail service. We will invest $600 million in 2016-2017, building to $764 million by 2020 in VIA Rail.
Rebalancing the relationship between passenger trains and freight cargo will begin with a comprehensive plan to limit the burden on our rail system that has been created by exporting unprocessed oil by rail.
Further, in order to reduce the risk to our communities and ensure that a tragedy like Lac Mégantic can never again occur, we will strengthen Canada’s rail safety rules and give regulators the tools they need to protect our neighbourhoods from train derailments, especially those involving hazardous materials. We will fund the re-routing of tracks for freight and rail yards away from populated areas.
End thermal coal exports
Work with provinces to ensure the rapid phase-out of coal fired generation plants within Canada.
Like the now-shuttered asbestos industry, it is wrong for Canada to profit from the export of coal destined to be burned in foreign power plants to create pollution and dirty energy abroad, while at the same time we work to eliminate its use within Canada.
Although solar energy is now cost competitive with the construction of new coal-fired power plants, existing coal-fired infrastructure at home and abroad is keeping the world on an unsustainable path. We must do our part by curtailing the export of thermal coal from Canadian ports.
Demonstrate climate leadership at the United Nations Climate Summit in Paris
The United Nations 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) will take place in Paris – starting a mere forty days after our federal election. COP21 represents the last, best and only chance for humanity to avert an intensified climate crisis and to prevent runaway global warming.
Only by electing Green Members of Parliament can we ensure Canada can lead in these critical negotiations. We are committed to serious action to avert a climate crisis. Our MPs will always work across party lines, because we understand the only way to make progress is through cooperation and mutual respect.
Canada has played a shameful and destructive role at climate negotiations during Stephen Harper’s time in power. It is time to restore Canada’s role as a leader. With the old parties’ support for new pipelines, increased tanker traffic, and expanded oil sands production, only Green MPs will show the way with realistic and pragmatic climate leadership. We do not care who gets the credit for Canada’s return to the world as a climate leader. We just need to be elected to make sure it happens.
We will fight to restore Canada’s reputation as a nation that makes us proud at a pivotal time in human history.
In this election, we will take back our country and be Canada again.