The climate crisis is the greatest threat facing humanity. Floods, ice storms, and droughts are increasing. Our planet is heating up because of human-caused carbon pollution, and it’s putting our water, food and health at risk. We can solve this, but we need to act now.
To avoid dangerous levels of climate change, we need to completely phase-out polluting fossil fuels and reduce our carbon pollution to zero by mid-century. That means saying no to dirty fossil fuels and yes to modern, clean energy. It means building a thriving clean economy.
Capping Tar Sands Pollution
The tar sands are the fastest growing source of carbon pollution in Canada and a massive barrier to meaningful climate action. We’re working to cap their expansion, raise awareness about how these projects are damaging water, air, soil, wildlife, communities and Indigenous lands, and working with others to find ways to stop and eventually repair the damage.
Building a Clean Economy
We don’t need to choose between the environment and the economy. Reducing carbon pollution will lead to cleaner air, improved public health, new jobs, and exciting opportunities for Canadian companies as the world moves to a clean economy.
Stopping the Energy East Pipeline
The Energy East Pipeline is the largest pipeline plan in North America. TransCanada’s plan to pump 1.1 million barrels of oil per day from Alberta to Canada’s East Coast for export is all risk, and no reward for communities and ecosystems across Canada.
Acting on Climate
It’s time for governments at all levels to create smart policies that speed Canada’s transition away from polluting fossil fuels. From encouraging energy conservation to putting a price on carbon, we’re working with governments of all stripes to act on climate.
Here is some of the progress we’ve been a part of to reduce carbon emissions and build a clean economy:
We co-founded Blue Green Canada, an alliance between labour unions, environmental and civil society organizations that advocates for working people and the environment by promoting solutions to environmental issues that have positive employment and economic impacts.
Ontario has a thriving renewable energy industry thanks to the Green Energy Act, which provides incentives for small and large producers to invest in wind and solar projects, encouraging job growth in the province.
Line 9 is an aging oil pipeline owned by Enbridge Inc. that runs through some of the most densely populated parts of Canada. Enbridge wanted to use the line to ship heavy crude, including tar sands oil. The pipeline was not built for this purpose. We helped thousands of concerned residents speak out against this risky pipeline plan.
The easiest way to cut carbon emissions is to use less energy. Ontario’s Conservation First principle prioritizes programs that can cut current and future energy usage even as the province’s population grows. Environmental Defence was a driving force in securing this initiative.
The expansion of the tar sands is far from inevitable. In 2014, several projects were shelved, including: Statoil’s Corner project, Total’s Joslyn mine and Shell’s Pierre River mine. We helped call attention to the challenges of extracting this high-cost, high carbon oil.
Ontario’s phase out of burning coal for electricity was the single largest initiative to cut in greenhouse gas emissions in Canada and dramatically reduced the number of smog days to almost none, allowing Ontarians to breathe fresher air.
President Obama took a stand and said he would not approve the Keystone XL pipeline project if it impacted the climate. In late 2015, he followed through and rejected TransCanada’s application to build the Keystone XL pipeline.
After massive opposition from Quebec residents and people across Canada, TransCanada was forced to cancel its planned Energy East export terminal in Cacouna, QC on the St. Lawrence River. The massive oil tanker terminal would have threatened endangered Beluga whales.
In April 2015, more than 25,000 people from across Canada gathered in Quebec City to demand government action on climate. Environmental Defence helped thousands of concerned Ontario residents attend one of the largest climate marches in the country’s history.
In April of 2015 we helped unite a group of nearly 90 organizations including prominent Ontario businesses, industry associations, labour unions, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, health charities, and environmental groups. The alliance formed to support the Ontario government’s commitment to develop a climate change strategy and put a price on carbon.
The new Alberta government laid out a game-changing climate action plan. In addition to an economy-wide price on carbon, phasing out coal, and spurring renewables, the plan included a cap on tar sands emissions. We supported this plan as it is clear that for Canada to meet any meaningful carbon reduction target, a cap on tar sands emissions is essential.
At the U.N. climate summit in Paris, Canada supported a global agreement to limit global warming to 1.5. degrees. Canada must now strengthen its own emissions reduction commitment to keep that international obligation and to ensure a safe climate future. We’re working to ensure Canada turns its strong words in Paris into climate actions at home.
Ontario’s commitment to address climate change and cut carbon is outlined in its Climate Change Strategy. A key component is the introduction of a cap-and-trade system starting in 2017 that will reduce carbon emissions and generate funds for complementary actions, like more residential solar panels, which will further cut emissions.
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WHAT YOU CAN DO
Big problems require big solutions, and all of us can help make the changes we want to see. By signing petitions and attending events, you can make your voice heard and help to affect change.
Petition: Support Climate Action and Building a Clean Economy in Ontario
take action now.
Petition: Tell our elected federal officials to reject the risky Energy East pipeline
take action now.
Petition: Tell Ontario to ramp up renewable energy
take action now.
Petition: Tell the federal government to restore and strengthen Canada’s environmental laws
take action now.
"As parents, we all want the very best for our children. Climate change is a great threat to their wellbeing and ours. For the sake of our children, we all have a part to do and we need to act fast."
-Hattie Wei, Toronto
MEET THE TEAM
At Environmental Defence, we educate the public about a host of environmental issues, work with business and government leaders to advise on policy decisions and mobilize Canadians to create the cleaner, greener more prosperous country we’re striving for. Meet the team who works on Climate and Clean Economy.
Join The Community
Change happens when people like you express your concern and make your voice heard. Join our online community of folks concerned about our changing climate. Join us in working to build a clean economy. We will send you a quarterly update on our campaigns, invitations to join us at events and opportunities for you to take action.