OTTAWA — The David Suzuki Foundation and Ecojustice announced today that they will enter the legal battle over carbon pricing. Carbon pricing is a necessary part of Canada’s strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and curb the negative environmental, physical and mental health effects caused by inaction on climate change.
The Foundation, represented by Ecojustice, has requested intervener status in a Saskatchewan court reference case concerning the federal price on carbon pollution. Ecojustice lawyers submitted the application on behalf of the David Suzuki Foundation today.
“Climate change is happening here and now, and it needs a fair and effective response,” David Suzuki Foundation science and policy director Ian Bruce said. “There is a consensus among Canadians on climate change and scientists are telling us that inaction is not an option. No jurisdiction can shirk its responsibility to act.”
The groups are filing in support of the federal law that ensures carbon pollution will be priced throughout the country. A coordinated effort will allow Canada to fulfil its commitment under the Paris Agreement and prevent premature deaths due to climate change. Saskatchewan has not put forward an adequate plan to address climate change and reduce its greenhouse-gas emissions. Instead, it is challenging the federal plan in court.
“Given the short window of time left to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and how an altered climate will affect Canadians, climate change now constitutes a national emergency,” Ecojustice lawyer Joshua Ginsberg said. “Everyone in Canada deserves the security of safe climate, and no province should put that at risk through their inaction.”
The World Health Organization has declared climate change the biggest health threat of this century. Tackling it could be the greatest health opportunity. Earlier this week, a Canadian report from the leading medical journal The Lancet identified carbon pricing as an essential part of the prescription to address climate change and protect human health. Since greenhouse gas pollution and climate change know no boundaries, this requires a national response.
Saskatchewan’s reference case will be heard by the province’s Court of Appeal in February 2019. Ontario has launched a distinct reference case challenging the federal carbon pollution pricing plan, after cancelling its signature program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The cancelled Ontario cap and trade system would have complied with the federal standard. Ecojustice plans to request intervener status in the Ontario Case on behalf of the David Suzuki Foundation in December.
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.
The David Suzuki Foundation (davidsuzuki.org) is a leading Canadian environmental non-profit organization, collaborating with all people in Canada, including government and business, to conserve the environment and find solutions that will create a sustainable Canada through evidence-based research, public engagement and policy work. The Foundation operates in English and French, with offices in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal.