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Canadians want real action on climate change. But that’s not what we’re getting from the Conservative government in Ottawa.

CUPE’s National Environment Committee calls upon CUPE members to write Federal Environment Minister John Baird and Prime Minister Stephen Harper and let them know that the Conservative government’s plan to deal with climate change falls well short. The government wants to look green while doing favours for big business, particularly in the Alberta oil sands.

· bairdj@parl.gc.ca
· John.Baird@ec.gc.ca
· pm@pm.gc.ca

The new climate change plan – announced April 27th in Toronto – will not get the job done. It allows too many loopholes for big emitters and it does not set firm caps for emissions. Instead, the Conservatives are going with an “emissions intensity” plan. This approach lets business off the hook because it allows real emissions to go up, so long as emission per unit of production go down. It’s a deceptive plan that is not good for the environment. It signals that Canada is not doing its part to join the international community to combat climate change.

At their recent bi-annual meeting in Ottawa, CUPE’s Environment Committee reacted strongly to Minister Baird’s claim that meeting Canada’s commitment to the Kyoto Protocol would be too expensive.

Committee co-chair Rh’ena Oake said, “The Minister doesn’t seem to get it. People know climate change is real and they want real action. They want the government to get going with real climate change solutions. It will be good for the economy and for public sector job growth, for one thing. But we also have no choice: if we want a stable environment, we have to step up and deal with climate change now.”

The committee is not impressed with the Harper government’s climate change plan. It is far too soft on big emitters and will not lead to real greenhouse gas reductions soon enough. Too much emphasis is put on the individual, with the banning of incandescent light bulbs, for example. While worthwhile, this is a small part of a much larger solution that is required to get Canada in step with other nations already taking the lead on climate change action.