Government of Canada Sued For Violating Climate Change Commitment

Canadian Forest

photo by Peter Grevstad

Canada has gained a dubious distinction today: It has become the first country to be sued for failing to comply with its own legal requirements to combat global warming.

Lawyers from Paliare Roland Barristers and Ecojustice working pro-bono on behalf of environmental organization Friends of the Earth Canada were in Federal Court in Toronto yesterday morning alleging that the Government of Canada has violated the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act. This act, which came into force less that a year ago, sets mandatory legal obligations and deadlines for the government to meet. The main obligation is that a climate change plan be published and regulations enacted so that Canada can meet its international treaty obligations. The lawsuit claims that these obligations have not been met."Put simply, Canada has failed to comply with the law. We are asking the court to declare that the government is bound by the law and must be held accountable to the will of Parliament," lawyer Chris Paliare said.

The lawsuit seeks a declaration from the court ordering the government to comply with the law.

"While other industrialized countries actively work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fight climate change, our government has offered pollution holidays for emitters for decades to come," said Friends of the Earth Canada Chief Executive Officer Beatrice Olivastri. "This government has broken the law and, as Canadian citizens, we have both a moral and legal imperative to insist on enforcement of our own laws on climate action."

Exactly what the consequences might be for failure to comply with a court ruling in this matter have not been specified.

:: Friends of the Earth Canada
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