With COP27 starting today in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt the Sierra Club Canada Foundation has released the below set of demands for countries participating in the conference and for Canada in particular. These demands call for the immediate end of plans to expand fossil fuel infrastructure and the acknowledgement of the Rights of Mother Earth.
“We go into this round of climate talks knowing that Canada is failing to meet its climate targets and has approved Equinor’s Bay du Nord oil drilling project and is leaving the door open to new LNG. Meanwhile forest fires, floods and hurricanes threaten lives and communities in Canada and around the world due to climate pollution. With the world shifting to cheaper renewables, efficiency, and energy storage, it's past time for the Canadian government to get on board,” says Gretchen Fitzgerald, National Programs Director with the Sierra Club Canada Foundation.
“Canada will also be hosting COP15 on biodiversity in December. We know the climate crisis and biodiversity loss are intertwined. Canada can use COP15 as a platform to shift our relationship to the natural world and each other by championing the Rights of Mother Earth at these meetings and ensuring we restore rather than continue to rupture with the living world. This includes immediate actions to stop the extinction of species such as the North Atlantic right whale and the long game of supporting and upholding the rights of nature.“
Sierra Club Canada says that companies, like Equinor with their Bay du Nord oil project and Enbridge who are continuing to operate the Line 5 oil pipeline, are on course to destroy our climate and nations must intervene to stop new oil and gas projects from taking place and to shut down dangerous oil and gas infrastructure like Line 5.
“It’s astounding that, despite the overwhelming evidence of the climate crisis and the sixth mass extinction of biodiversity, we are still fighting against increased and expanding oil and gas development projects. Many of the countries and corporations attending COP27 have a duty to shift to one hundred percent renewable energy as they are largely responsible for the negative ecological impacts being experienced around the globe. It’s time we stop valuing profit and the power of capitalism over people and other living beings,” says Brynna Kagawa-Visentin, Director At Large, Sierra Club Canada Foundation (who will be attending COP27).
The organization also wants to see cross-border collaboration between Canada and the U.S. to protect key regions which will lock in carbon and protect biodiversity such as the Adirondacks to Algonquin, Prairie pothole, Gulf of St. Lawrence, and the Great Lakes bioregions.
“COP 27 provides Canada and the United States the opportunity to invest in and formally create a model wilderness protection area carbon sink by taking steps to create a Algonquin to Adirondack bioregion via the Frontenac Arch,” says Dr. (Hon) Aaron Mair, Adirondack Wilderness Campaign Director (who will be attending COP27 on Sierra Club Canada’s behalf).
“At COP 26 there was a recognition that wilderness protection is critical to a healthy forest’s ability to capture and sequester carbon. Moreover, biodiversity, soils and habitat protection are critical to wilderness ecosystems. The Adirondack Park is the largest intact temperate deciduous forest in the world. The Park region is designated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, recognizing the astonishing diversity of flora and fauna and abundant waterways. The Adirondack Park is the largest Park in the contiguous United States, big enough to fit any four national parks, such as Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Yosemite and the Everglades. The Adirondacks provide a critical wildlife migration linkage between the Appalachian range and the boreal habitat of the Algonquin provincial Park in Canada.”
Specifically Sierra Club Canada’s demands include:
- A halt to all new fossil fuel infrastructure and projects, such as Bay du Nord and East Coast LNG projects in Canada, as part of global efforts to protect biodiversity and halt climate change.
Please note: As part of its stance against offshore oil and gas exploration and development the Sierra Club Canada Foundation is calling on Equinor and Norway to abandon plans to expand oil and gas. The organization says that in their calls against oil and gas expansion they stand in solidarity with partners in Norway (where the Wisting project is proposed), the UK (where the Rosebank project is proposed), Argentina, and Brazil where Equinor is also operating or plans to expand oil and gas.
- Acknowledging the Rights of Mother Earth in negotiations to address climate change and create environmental justice at UNFCCC COP27.
- Climate commitments backed with the cash needed to make them real here in Canada and those countries most impacted by climate change and biodiversity loss.
- A Pan-Canadian Strategy that includes Indigenous Peoples, Provinces, Territories and Municipalities in climate targets and actions.
- An invigorated commitment to the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration committing to cross-border collaboration to protect key regions which will lock in carbon and protect biodiversity such as the Adirondacks to Algonquin, Prairie pothole, Gulf of St. Lawrence, and the Great Lakes bioregions.
- Supporting citizen science in protecting the climate by re-establishing a national ecological monitoring network (formerly known as EMAN) and taking advantage of the modern citizen science platform, iNaturalist.
The Sierra Club Canada Foundation (SCCF) will have two representatives at COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt who will be available for media interviews and commentary during COP27 - Brynna Kagawa-Visentin and Aaron Mair.
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