News Release

REF NO.: 41

SUBJECT: Memorial University sociologist part of group issuing progress report on climate actions

DATE: November 18, 2016

As a member of Sustainable Canada Dialogues (SCD), a countrywide group of more than 60 scholars, Memorial University sociologist Dr. Mark Stoddart has issued a progress report on Canada’s climate actions.

Sustainable Canada Dialogues is cautiously positive about Canada’s deployment of climate policies in the past year. The group highlights two important steps forward: pricing carbon and investing in low-carbon infrastructures.

This progress is, however, shadowed by the decision to approve the Pacific Northwest liquefied natural gas (LNG) project seen by the SCD as “incompatible with Canada’s worldwide advocacy to limit global temperature increase to 1.5 C.”

According to the SCD, Canadian climate policy will lack credibility until the federal government begins to ask the really difficult question: How to transition away from fossil fuels?

As a way forward, SCD proposes engaging with representatives of the oil and gas industry, unions and Indigenous Peoples, among others, to develop an immediate plan for redirecting subsidies towards the production of low-carbon energy and retraining workers.

The report cited polls showing that the federal government currently benefits from strong support from the public to tackle climate change and that ambitious Canadian climate action is more necessary than ever in North America.

Critical steps forward in Canadian federal policy identified by Sustainable Canada Dialogues include the following:

  • Pricing carbon
  • Plan and budget allocation to invest in low-carbon infrastructuresRelease of the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy Inter-governmental consultation process that began with the Vancouver declaration
  • Renewed engagement with Indigenous Peoples in particular by adopting the United Nations Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Sustainable Canada Dialogues overall assessment?

Despite positive steps forward, the federal government has been unable so far to develop a coherent climate action plan largely because of its inability to address fossil fuels coherently.

The report is available here.

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