Climate accountability #KAIROSClimateAction
Canada has missed every greenhouse gas emissions reduction target it has ever set. We’ve needed climate accountability legislation to get us on track and ensure we never miss another target. This past spring, we got just that.
In June, Bill C-12 – the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act received royal assent and passed into law. KAIROS welcomed the passage of this bill, recognizing that the bill itself was not perfect but that it represented a significant step forward for climate action in Canada.
Since Bill C-12 was introduced in Parliament, KAIROS Canada urged the government to strengthen the language and timelines in this legislation. Our recommendations were informed by the Five Pillars of Canadian Climate Accountability Act put forward by Climate Action Network Canada (CAN-Rac) and its members. Furthermore, we urged the federal government to adopt CAN-Rac’s high-level recommendations for Bill C-12. Some of these recommendations were not reflected in the final act, but some significant progress was made:
- The Act legislated Canada’s latest Nationally Determined Contribution (our greenhouse gas emissions reduction target obligated under the Paris Agreement) as our 2030 target.
- The Act mandates a climate objective for 2026, essentially an interim target to ensure progress towards the 2030 target in the near term.
- Carbon targets must now be set 10 years in advance instead of five as originally proposed in the legislation. This ensures greater certainty of the federal government’s climate policy directions as we accelerate a just transformation of our society and economy.
KAIROS also stressed that this legislation must respect the rights of Indigenous peoples and reflect Canada’s commitment to enacting the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Passage of Bill C-15 last June will help to advance the recognition of rights in all legislation. In addition, support needs to be identified for Indigenous peoples to be full participants in climate action and accountability processes.
We must now call on the new government for robust implementation of the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act. The Act is not designed as legal legislation so there is no recourse if the government misses its target, however, the public will know, and its scrutiny of inaction will hold the government accountable.