Elizabeth May offers “tough love” to the Liberal’s carbon pricing plan

OTTAWA –Green Party of Canada Leader Elizabeth May (MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands) commended the carbon pricing plan outlined today by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna but stressed that much more must be done.

She said the Liberals have proposed the same revenue-neutral carbon fee and dividend model that has been one of the cornerstones of Green Party climate policy for many years. “This is a very fundamental first step and I acknowledge Minister McKenna’s hard-work, but I can only offer tough love,” said Ms. May. “It’s approximately half of what must be done.”

She said that evidence-based directions for action arrived two weeks ago in the latest report from the the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). ”We have 12 years and one last chance,” said Ms. May. “There’s no time for procrastination. To avoid catastrophic outcomes, we must reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 45 per cent of 2010 levels by 2030. And to achieve that it’s imperative that we show leadership and ramp up our target before December’s climate meeting.”

Ms. May laid out a path that will lead to this target. “Adequate carbon pricing is a start but we need to eliminate the use of fossil fuels altogether, especially in the production of electricity. The federal government should be promoting renewable energies and providing incentives to Canadians to retrofit their homes; start with removing tariffs on solar panels, for one.”

“We also need to talk to municipalities. Since the turn of the century, cities and towns have been leaders in delivering on successful climate action. Everyday actions by individual Canadians, planting trees for example, are ways to help.”

“And on the global stage, Minister McKenna must recover her capacity for leadership and once again put Canada at the forefront of industrialized nations in meeting climate targets. If we lead, others will follow.

“At the last Copenhagen negotiations, delegates from Africa and the Caribbean walked out of the negotiations chanting: ‘1.5 to stay alive.’ Parliamentarians should pin that mantra on their office wall to serve as a reminder of the important work ahead.”