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.