First Global Warming Lawsuit Filed Against Government of Canada
29 May 2007
The environmental organization Friends of the Earth Canada is suing the Government of Canada for abandoning its international commitments under the Kyoto Protocol. Filed in Federal Court in Ottawa by environmental law organization Sierra Legal, the lawsuit alleges that the federal government is violating Canadian law by failing to meet its binding international commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The lawsuit is an application for judicial review and alleges that the government’s failure to effectively regulate greenhouse gases is likely to violate the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol.
This violation of international law contravenes section 166 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, which states that Canada must abide by its international agreements in preventing pollution.
Canada ratified the Kyoto Protocol in December 2002, legally requiring a reduction of overall greenhouse gas emissions to 6% below 1990 levels during the period 2008 to 2012: a target of 563 Megatonnes of greenhouse gases.
On 26 April 2007, the Canadian government announced its ‘Turning the Corner’ climate change strategy which set greenhouse gas reduction targets from industry and other sources to 20% below 2006 levels by 2020. This would leave Canada approximately 39% off target with Kyoto in 2012 and would not achieve the Kyoto target until 2025 at the earliest. (Earlier post.)
Separately, Canadian Press reported that Environment Minister John Baird “was put on the defensive Monday after an attempt to sell Ottawa’s greenhouse gas reduction plan to his provincial and territorial counterparts was met with a chorus of disapproval.”
A number of ministers emerged from a closed-door meeting with Baird saying they were disappointed with the government for failing to set a hard cap on industries that produce greenhouse gas emissions.
“We need to see a national plan with national absolute caps... in greenhouse gas emissions,” said Ontario Environment Minister Laurel Broten.
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