Earthkeepers has joined several other Christian groups which are urging the federal government to strengthen its stance in support of climate justice.
Following is their ‘Open Letter for Bold Climate Action,’ addressed to North Vancouver MP Jonathan Wilkinson, who is Minister of Environment and Climate Change for the Liberal Party.
They are asking readers to “join us in calling for more ambitious climate targets ahead of Earth Day 2021 [April 22] and the COP26 international climate summit. Read the letter below and sign on if you agree.”
Dear Minister Wilkinson,
We are writing to exhort you to strengthen the Federal Climate Accountability Act to appropriately address climate change.
We are Earthkeepers: Christians for Climate Justice, a grassroots, ecumenical, citizen-led group with over 250 followers and supporters in BC. We believe climate change is the moral challenge of the century and have been active in Metro Vancouver since 2015, raising awareness on climate change and inviting Christians into civic engagement. We are writing in solidarity with the For the Love of Creation campaign to advocate for climate justice.
First, we appreciate Canada’s commitment to achieving net-zero GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions by the year 2050 and that measures were announced in late 2020 to orient Canada towards that goal. We also appreciate that the recently named advisory panel will not include lobbyists for the oil industry.
However, the current Act postpones meaningful accountability down the road to 2030, which is too late to meaningfully ensure that Canada will achieve net-zero GHG emissions by 2050. The IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] and climate science tells us that if we miss our 2030 targets, our chances of achieving net-zero are slim and we will not be on track to keep global temperatures to 1.5ºC warming.
The targets we currently have are only 31 percent more ambitious than the ones set by the Harper government, and are not sufficient. Canada remains one of the highest per capita GHG emitters and we’re in the historical top 10. As people of faith, we believe Canada should adopt more aggressive targets and plans, and take accountability for our own pollution.
Minister, will you commit Canada to reduce Canadian GHG emissions by 60 percent below 2005 levels by 2030?
In addition to setting a more ambitious target, we call upon your government to achieve this target by:
A. Ending fossil fuel subsidies and shift in spending to support a Just Transition
B. Investing in a Just Transition plan to support a fair, inclusive, green economy that creates good secure jobs, and promotes the well-being of everyone in Canada.
C. Expanding plans to protect 25 percent of land and ocean by 2025 and support Indigenous led conservation.
D. Fulfilling Canada’s commitment to the Green Climate Fund to support climate change adaptation and mitigation measures to poorer and more vulnerable countries.
As people of faith, we believe that budgets and investments are not only public policy choices, but are also moral choices about our societal priorities. The Centre for Future Work estimates that a $1 billion per year plan will support workers in transition through support for increased labour mobility, skills training and income support for affected workers. In contrast, $1.91 billion in fossil fuel subsidies was spent in 2020 (International Institute for Sustainable Development, 2020).
Minister, you have both the authority and the ability to help shape the Canada that we want to be, by making a series of critical investment decisions that will have impacts in both this decade and beyond.
It is imperative that Canada take responsibility for our ongoing contributions to climate change, commit to a more ambitious emissions reduction target, and take action now to transform our society and our economy.
The world requires nothing less.
Earthkeepers: Christians for Climate Justice
To sign on to the open letter go here.
Monica Tang, who drafted the open letter, notes that as well as April 22 being Earth Day, “this past Sunday was Earth Sunday (in the church calendar for churches who celebrate it) and next Sunday, is Good Seed Sunday.”
Among the endorsers of For the Love of Creation are the Anglican Church of Canada, Citizens for Public Justice, the United Church of Canada, the Mennonite Central Committee and the Presbyterian Church in Canada.
At least one Christian organization – Citizens for Public Justice – has commented that the Liberal Party has not gone far enough to combat climate change in the budget it released April 20.