Treading Water on Climate Change

Sierra reacts to Environment Commissioner's report

October 7, 2014 

OTTAWA – The Environment Commissioner’s audit documents Canada’s lack of action on climate change, preventing pollution from the Tar Sands and lack of preparation for increasing shipping in the Arctic.

“Canada is treading water on climate change, Tar Sands pollution and arctic shipping,” said Sierra Club’s John Bennett. “We need legislation, regulation and enforcement.”

The Environment Commissioner found Environment Canada is doing a reasonable job tracking Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions, but is making little headway on reducing emissions or living up to Canada’s international commitments.

“Where is the legislation to reduce Canada’s fastest growing emissions--the oil and gas sector?” asked Mr. Bennett.

The report also points out that cumulative impacts on environment and human health in the Tar Sands region are not being monitored under the Ottawa-Alberta Tar Sands Monitoring Program (which is set to expire in April 2015).

“What is the point of monitoring pollution without looking at the cumulative impacts on the environment and human health? The federal government has a responsibility to protect public health and is simply not doing its job,” said Mr. Bennett.

Navigation in the Arctic is safe for the time being according to the Environment Commissioner, largely because of the skill of a small cadre of pilots, but the “Northwest Passage” lacks the proper infrastructure to support the expected doubling in ship traffic.

“The Commissioner makes it clear the Arctic is not prepared to support offshore drilling and a doubling of ship traffic,” said Mr. Bennett. “We hope the National Energy Board will reconsider its decision to allow drilling in the Beaufort Sea.”

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For more information contact:

John Bennett, National Program Director
Sierra Club Canada Foundation
1510-1 Nicholas Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1N 7B7
John on Twitter / Bennett Blog

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