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Declaration on Climate Justice and the Montreal Climate Change Summit

Climate Action Network Canada made the following Declaration on Climate Justice and the Montreal Climate Change Summit:

The nations of the world will be coming to Montreal in 2005 to talk about how to prevent dangerous climate change. But we need more than talk, and Canada must lead the way.

Human communities and ecosystems around the world are already suffering from the impacts of climate change. Scientists agree that these impacts will become catastrophic unless we make deep cuts in greenhouse gases emissions from the burning of oil, coal and gas – and make them soon.

The Kyoto Protocol is a small, but important, first step towards a just and sustainable global regime to fight climate change. But if the Kyoto Protocol, whose modest greenhouse gas reduction commitments end in 2012, is not soon followed by other, more significant steps to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, then we will not be able to avoid the most devastating impacts of climate change: the threats to our water supplies and food production, the increases in the severity of droughts, floods and storms, the dooming of many species and whole ecosystems to extinction, and rises in sea levels that threaten coastal and island communities.

Beginning with the climate summit in Montreal this December that will launch the negotiations on what happens after 2012, and as President of the UN climate change negotiations for the following twelve months, Canada will have an unprecedented influence over international cooperation to stop climate change. These discussions are too important to our collective future to leave to politicians and bureaucrats alone. Canadians must get directly involved, as they did so successfully during the struggle to ratify the Kyoto Protocol.

As a first step, we must ensure that Canada acts on our existing Kyoto commitments. Our governments must stop relying on voluntary measures to deal with climate change, which have resulted in our emissions rising by 24% between 1990 and 2003, and take the steps necessary to meet our Kyoto commitment to reduce emissions to 6% below 1990 levels by 2012. And to stabilize the climate in the longer term, scientists say that we must cut greenhouse gases by 25 - 30% by 2020, and 60 - 80% by 2050.

To be taken seriously on the international stage, we must challenge ourselves and our elected representatives to be real leaders in taking action at home, while supporting a just and sustainable international climate regime.

To do this, we must:

Strengthen energy conservation and fuel efficiency standards. Using only what energy we truly need and using it wisely is the best solution to our climate crisis.

Support clean, renewable, non-nuclear energy alternatives. The efficient use of energy from the wind, sun, water and earth can meet our needs without destroying ecosystems on which all life depends.

End government subsidies for oil and coal corporations. We should not be spending billions of dollars of public money to subsidize activities that endanger our future.

Defend the world's forests. Saving our forests will require addressing the direct threat from logging operations, and indirect threats from changes in temperature and rainfall patterns due to climate change which make forests more vulnerable to disease and fire.

Protect the most vulnerable. Those who will be hardest hit by the impacts of climate change - the poor - have also done the least to cause the problem. At the Montreal summit, Canada must call on the industrialised countries to provide adequate resources to help developing countries adapt to climate change impacts, while showing leadership at home by developing a comprehensive energy conservation program for First Nations and low-income households.

Support a just transition for workers, First Nations and other communities affected by the change to a sustainable energy system. All have a right to sustainable development and a safe, healthy environment, but the costs of making this transition should not be borne by current or future victims of environmental and economic injustices.

Engage progressive U.S. states, municipalities and organizations in action on climate change. We cannot allow the world to water down any future climate regime with the hope that the Bush administration will sign on right away. Instead we must help to strengthen the worldwide movement to improve on Kyoto and the domestic movement in the U.S. to have the U.S. join the rest of the world in taking on climate change.


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