Masthead - Climate Control Journal

Region: The Americas

Supreme Court in Canada endorses climate action to protect future generations

Legal victory has the potential to result in environmental benefits well beyond climate action, says West Coast Environmental Law


VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Canada, 25 March 2021: Not-for-profit legal firm, West Coast Environmental Law applauded the March 25 decision by the Supreme Court, upholding Canada’s price on carbon pollution, which confirmed the ability of all levels of government to take action to address the climate crisis, consistent with the overarching responsibility of the Canadian government to ensure that youth and future generations inherit a healthy atmosphere.

In light of the decision, the legal organization urged the Canadian government to ramp up its climate ambition and to strengthen and enact Bill C-12 without delay to ensure that Canada meets its future climate goals.

“Canada has missed every climate goal it has set for itself, in large part because of inconsistent and half-hearted efforts by both federal and provincial governments,” said Andrew Gage, Staff Lawyer at the firm. “This decision makes it clear – the buck stops with the federal government. The Canadian government must work cooperatively to encourage provincial action, but it can also step in when provinces fail and take the steps required to protect Canadians from climate change.”

Lawyers at the firm said the legal victory has the potential to result in environmental benefits well beyond climate action. “It is a landmark decision for the environment,” said Anna Johnston, Staff Lawyer. “By rejecting the provinces’ attempts to minimize federal authority over climate, the Supreme Court has made it abundantly clear that when it comes to environmental protection, we need all hands on deck.”

Warned Dr Silvie Harder, Climate Scientist: “Canada is warming at twice the global average – leading to increased floods, wildfires and other climate disasters. With today’s decision, the Canadian government is well placed to increase its climate ambition, bring our fossil fuel addiction under control and align with what the global scientific community says is needed to keep Canadians safe.”

Lawyers at the firm urged the Canadian government to press forward with its Net Zero Emissions Accountability Act, Bill C-12, which it said, has been languishing in Parliament. “Carbon pricing is good,” Gage said, “but a strengthened Bill C-12 will ensure that current and future governments keep working to achieve our climate targets.”

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