#CanadaCommit: Canadian Law Students & Professors Call for Climate Action

In All Posts, Environment, Poverty & Community Outreach by Christie McLeodLeave a Comment

Climate science is abundantly clear: we have a very small window of time left to radically reduce our emissions.

The United Nations Environment Programme reported last week that limiting warming to 1.5°C will require global emissions to drop by 7.6% each year between 2020 and 2030. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change claims that at our current rate of warming, 1.5°C of global warming will likely occur sometime between 2030 and 2052.

Canada’s emissions targets don’t match this level of urgency.

Canada’s 2030 target, set by Stephen Harper in 2015, only calls for a modest 30% reduction below 2005 emissions levels — that’s about 27% below 2017 levels. Canada does not have a 2050 target.

Galvanized by the urgency and scale of effort required to address this climate emergency, I decided to write an open letter calling for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to strengthen and legislate Canada’s emissions reduction targets.

I invited my peers at Osgoode Hall Law School to join my call for action, as well as law students and faculty members from across the country. Over 450 students and faculty members from nearly every law school in Canada signed onto this letter, which was sent to Prime Minister Trudeau and Minister Wilkinson today.


The letter urges the Federal Government to adopt 2030 and 2050 emissions reduction targets that comply with efforts to limit global warming to 1.5°C, and to legislate these targets alongside interim five-year targets to guide reduction efforts. The letter calls for Trudeau to commit to legislating these targets in this Thursday’s Speech from the Throne, as well as formalize these commitments by updating Canada’s Nationally Determined Contribution to the UNFCCC (where each country submits their national targets to the international community).

Many of the signatories provided compelling explanations as to why they felt that Canada needs stronger emissions reduction targets. I created a gallery to showcase some of their insights.

Osgoode Hall Law School

Thompson Rivers University Faculty of Law

University of Victoria Faculty of Law

Peter A. Allard School of Law (University of British Columbia)

University of Alberta Faculty of Law

University of Calgary Faculty of Law

University of Saskatchewan Faculty of Law

Robson Hall Faculty of Law

Bora Laskin Faculty of Law

Western Law

Queen’s University Faculty of Law

University of Windsor Faculty of Law

University of Toronto Faculty of Law

University of Ottawa Faculty of Law

McGill University Faculty of Law

Université de Montréal Faculty of Law

University of New Brunswick Faculty of Law

Schulich School of Law (Dalhousie University)

Please spread the word about this campaign, as we seek to mobilize further support in the lead-up to Thursday’s Speech from the Throne.


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