The United Nations climate change negotiations start next week. It is vital that all governments make commitments to intensify their efforts to address the climate emergency, and that human rights are made central to this. Action taken to combat climate change must not come at the cost of human rights, including Indigenous rights, or deepen inequalities.
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has raised the alarm that in order to avoid the worst consequences of climate change, global greenhouse gas emissions must be halved by 2030. It is critical that rich countries, including Canada, which bear the greatest responsibility for causing the climate crisis and have the most resources, take swift and urgent action to: reduce their own greenhouse gas emissions in a fast and fair way that respects human rights; provide support to affected communities and individuals to address loss and damage caused by the climate crisis; and provide financial and technological resources to countries in the global south to facilitate their efforts to reduce emissions and adapt to the climate emergency.
The Canadian government must also ensure: human rights defenders, including climate activists, are able to defend and promote human rights without fear of punishment and intimidation; climate policies do not increase gender and intersecting forms of inequality; and the full participation of Indigenous peoples in the design and implementation of climate solutions, while ensuring that all climate policies conform to the UN Declaration on Indigenous Peoples and the principle of free, prior informed consent.
Write a letter to Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change, highlighting your concerns about human rights and the climate crisis.
Urge Canada to:
- Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50% by 2030, aiming for zero emissions as swiftly as possible after 2030.
- Ensure that any action to address climate change respects, protects, and fulfills human rights, including Indigenous rights.
- Respect and take into account Indigenous traditional knowledge when identifying and designing climate change mitigation policies and programmes.
- Provide substantial financial and technical support to help countries in the global south to reduce emissions.
- Help the hardest hit communities, both at home and abroad, to protect themselves from climate change.
- Support Indigenous peoples’ own initiatives to develop mechanisms on how to cope, adapt or mitigate the effects of climate change on their livelihoods and environments.
- Ensure that all human rights defenders, including climate activists, must be allowed to continue their legitimate work without fear of reprisals in a safe environment, with particular attention to those who face intersecting forms of discrimination, such as women human rights defenders and Indigenous human rights defenders.
- Adequately consider the gender dimensions of climate policies , including through gender-impact assessments, to ensure that climate decisions do not increase gender and intersecting forms of inequality.
Please send your message to Minister Jonathan Wilkinson at Jonathan.Wilkinson@parl.gc.ca