Parliament in Canada Votes on Bill C311, Climate Change Accountability Act

The following is a guest posting by Cathy Orlando, a climate change activist from Sudbury, Ontario, who was trained by Al Gore several years ago. It is a reposting from The Green

On Wednesday April 14, 2010 Bill C311, The Climate Change Accountability Act,  goes for third and final reading in Canada’s House of Commons.

Here is the science of climate change in three numbers:

  • 350 ppm is the safe amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Above this level, the planet is at grave risk for global climate collapse for our grandchildren (1).
  • 391.06 ppm is the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere right now.
  • 770 ppm is the amount of carbon dioxide that will be in the atmosphere by 2100 under the Copenhagen Accord

Thus, the world leaders in December 2009 in Copenhagen came up with a climate change plan that will condemn future generations to live on planet where sea levels will rise, there will be mass migrations and people won’t know where to live or grow food. This translates to: there be global wars for future generations (2).

The highlights of Bill C-311, the Climate Change Accountability Act (3) include:

  • – require our government to use science to guide climate change policy in Canada
  • – hold our government legally accountable to follow our international legal obligations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, unlike what they did for the Kyoto Protocol which was an internationally and legally binding agreement (4) (5) (6)

An argument that you may hear regarding Bill C311 is that limiting greenhouse gas emissions will collapse the economy. Please read Paul Krugman’s 10 page New York Times article this week and then see how well this argument holds (7). Who are you going to trust with regards to climate change policy and economics? A political party with much of its power base in the oil industry or Paul Krugman, the 2008 Nobel Prize winner in Economics.

Another argument is that we need to synchronize our climate policy with the US because they are our biggest trading partner. I agree with this argument because there will be trade barriers. However, why can’t Canada take the lead on climate change policy on this continent?

What are the chances of Bill C311 of passing through third reading this week in Parliament? It’s not looking good. There are rumours that the Liberals are not going to support Bill C311.

What can you do? If you are Canadian and live in a riding with a Conservative or Liberal MP, please contact them NOW. There is not much time. Politely ask parliamentarians to either support Bill C311 or give solid explanations to you of what is wrong with Bill C311.

That is your right. Find your MP here:

If you live in an NDP riding especially Northern Ontario you may want to contact:
Anthony Rota, MP Liberal North Bay and Caucus Chair – 705-474-3700

Finally if you are not Canadian please phone or fax the Canadian Embassy In Washington
Tel: 1 (202) 682-1740
Fax: 1 (202) 682-7726

When all is said and done, there will come a day when your children ask you, “What did you do during the time of the climate crisis?” What are you going to say?

1) A safe Operating Space for Humanity (24 September 2009) Johan Rockström et al Nature461, 472-475

2) Climate Change and Security. Royal United Services Institute


4) Green Groups sue Tories over missed Kyoto targets (2007)

5) UN to probe Canada over lack of Greenhouse Gas reporting (2008)

6) Climate change, Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act and the rule of law. (March 17, 2010) Diane Saxe

7) Building a Green Economy (April 5, 2010) Paul Krugman

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