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Communiqué of Canada’s First Ministers

From the Prime Minister’s Web Site (http://pm.gc.ca/)

Canada’s First Ministers today issued a joint communiqué following the First Ministers’ Meeting and released a declaration on clean growth and climate change:

“In the spirit of cooperation and collaboration, we met today to discuss the economy and actions to address climate change and agreed on immediate work to support growth and create new jobs.

“Building on commitments and actions already taken by provinces and territories and the momentum from COP21 in Paris, we are moving toward a pan-Canadian framework for clean growth and climate change that will meet or exceed Canada’s international emissions targets, and will transition our country to a stronger, more resilient, low-carbon economy – while also improving our quality of life.

“We know that a fair transition to a sustainable, low-carbon economy is necessary for our collective prosperity, competitiveness, health, and security. Taking smart and effective action today is essential for future generations. These decisions will put Canada at the forefront of the global clean growth economy, and will create opportunities to diversify our economies, open up access to new markets, reduce emissions, and generate good paying, long-term jobs for Canadians. Read more

A carbon budget for Canada

A collaborative framework for federal and provincial climate leadership

Last month,  we recommended the analysis of carbon budgets coming out of Simon Fraser University. West Coast Environmental Law practice, an organisation we equally admire and support, also bring their analyses to the table. Again, with the carbon budget for Canada, they propose ideas on how to deliver it, looking at the responsibilities of the Federal and provincial governments, their communications, the legal and financial requirements to ensure targets are met. Looking at conditions for best practices in other countries like the UK, the new government is at a ripe time to show leadership and gutsy policies.

FCM Guidebook for Brownfield Strategies makes top 5 resource for municipalities

The Brownfields Strategy Guidebook has been selected by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities as one of their top five resources for municipalities in 2016.
 
SSG contributed to the Guidebook which provides guidance on how to design and implement an effective brownfield strategy. It is part of a series of guidebooks produced for the Green Municipal Fund’s Leadership program (LiBRe), which is structured around a best practices framework for becoming a municipal leader in brownfield renewal. The program supports participants’ progress through seven key steps to becoming a brownfield champion municipality. This guidebook provides an outline of different types of brownfield strategies and what they typically include, outlines best practices for successful brownfield strategy development, and offers guidance on selecting the right brownfield incentives for your municipality.
 
To read more and download the guide, visit the FCM website.

Sunnier days: Update from Paris

It is sunny today in Paris and the hallways are buzzing with optimism. A draft text has been passed from the negotiators to the ministers and the text still includes many of the key aspects necessary for a meaningful agreement. Many challenges remain however, and ministers are working on issues such as loss and damage and the ongoing debate over the relationship between developed and developing countries, and the emissions gap between what countries have committed to and what is necessary to prevent catastrophic climate change. Read more

Pathway To Paris #20: It’s cloudy in Paris… notes from the COP21

About this service | Subscribe to this briefing  | Contact the editor

In this Issue #20

  • SSG digest from the frontline
  • An energy transformation
  • Carbon pricing everywhere
  • Divestment of risky assets
  • Ratcheting up the ambition
  • Coming to a city near you
  • Two degrees too many
  • To be legal or not to be?

SSG digest from the frontline

On Monday, 150 heads of states established an ambitious and hopeful tone for the negotiations. For a sense of the venue and the mood check out this short video from the UNFCCC.

The negotiations are heating up after little progress by diplomats so far. You can feel the energy levels increasing and the talk becoming more urgent and impassioned at the bargaining table: “We are not making anywhere near the progress we need to be making at this point”, said US official Daniel Reifsnyder, one of the two co-chairmen of the negotiations. Read more

Canada: worker cooperatives taking action to address climate change

(Repost from CICOPA: dated 31st October 2015)

In the Sustainability Solutions Group (SSG) document it is underlined that co-operatives are showing leadership by joining together to develop a co-operative solution to climate change.  CWCF member Sustainability Solutions Group (SSG) has put out a call to action to engage cooperatives in climate change activities, including in their publication “A Co-operative Solution to Climate Change”: 

“Co-operatives represent something special for the climate change challenge. It is a combination of experience and a proven track record, resilience, an unrelenting dedication to universal values, the ability to achieve multiple outcomes at once, and flexibility and versatility.”[1]

The concept of sustainability is embedded within the seven co-operative principles.  By their nature, co-operatives put societal and member concerns ahead of short-term profit.

CWCF recently adopted a Statement on Climate Change[2] which begins as follows:

“From November 30 to December 11, 2015, the nations of the world will come together in Paris, France to negotiate a global treaty on climate change. The Canadian Worker Co-operative Federation (CWCF) is an organisation representing worker co-operatives across Canada, and Principle 7 of the Co-operative Principles states that “Co-operatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies approved by their members”.  Climate change unequivocally threatens not only sustainable development, but the survival of millions of people around the world through undermining food security, extreme weather events, sea level rise, ocean acidification and other impacts. CWCF is therefore mandated on behalf of our members to advocate for meaningful action on climate change according to the co-operative values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity. In so doing, CWCF joins a diverse and growing movement within society.

To this end, CWCF calls for an agreement in Paris that includes the following elements:

Commitment to 100% renewable future by 2050: In order to stabilise the climate at safe levels as called for by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the world needs to transition away from fossil fuels to renewable energy by 2050[3]. This also means that more than 2/3 of all present commercially viable fossil fuel reserves will need to stay in the ground[4].  …” 

The Pathway to Paris, co-organized by SSG, is a collection of artists, activists, academics, musicians, politicians, and innovators coming together to make their voices heard in the context of the UN climate talks in Paris in December 2015.  SSG has been participating in the UN climate negotiations for several years, and the meeting in Paris this December is a unique opportunity to agree upon a coordinated international response to climate change. The meeting is unique because of a coalescing of acknowledgement by heads of state, particularly China and the US, that substantive action is urgent.

Many Worker Co-operatives in Canada in addition to SSG are working towards sustainability and climate justice, including the following:  

  •  Forêt d’Arden is a worker cooperative in Quebec, which provides education about the environment.
  • EnerGreen Builders Co-operative located in New Brunswick, is committed to building and maintaining high quality sustainable buildings and they endeavour to use environmentally friendly building materials and practices.
  •  Aster Group Environmental Services, also in New Brunswick, is a worker co-operative that delivers environmental consulting services.
  •  The Fourth Pig, a worker cooperative in Ontario, is a construction company that doeshome and commercial renovations and building. Their work is based on natural and green building techniques and materials. 
  • Vancouver Renewable Energy Co-op (VREC) sells, installs and provides consulting services for renewable energy systems in British Columbia.
  •  Natural Cycle Worker Co-op Limited is a group of enterprises, located in Manitoba, Canada focused on human-powered transportation.  They have four worker co-operative members including a courier business, a bike shop, a fabrication company and a distribution company.
  • Urbane Cyclist Workers Co-op is a bike shop located in downtown Toronto that includes retail and service. Urbane Cyclist supports all pedal-powered cycling and their shop services all kinds of bicycles.
  •  Old Town Glassworks in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories is a community of workers and artists who create hand-crafted glassware from recycled bottles.
  • Urban Eatin’ Landscapes, located in Manitoba, transforms underutilized space into beautiful edible landscapes. 
  • Tourne-Sol Co-operative Farm, in rural Quebec, is a farming cooperative that is committed to producing the highest quality organic products in the most sustainable ways possible to nourish our local community and enrich the landscape.

Yuill Hebert of SSG noted that, “Cooperatives are very active around the world in addressing climate change; from renewable energy cooperatives to car sharing, from low-carbon housing to providing critical financing but certainly they can do more, much more. The unique value proposition is that cooperatives, unlike many other models of enterprise, can enable the transition to a fossil fuel-free society while combating inequality, enhancing democracy and ensuring local involvement and control, thus simultaneously achieving different aspects of the sustainable development goals- a win-win-win solution. If we attempt to solve climate change with unrestrained capitalism, the result may be reduced emissions, but there are also other social and economic problems that must then be addressed.” 

Co-operatives in Canada and elsewhere are already implementing sustainable business practices and services.  CWCF urges all co-operatives to get involved in working together to address climate change.  This can be done by adopting a Climate Change Statement, advocating with governments, creating climate-related policies, participating in Pathways to Paris or similar activities, implementing more sustainable business practices and services and collaborating to encourage other co-operatives, community organizations, and businesses to address climate change issues

The Canadian Worker Co-operative Federation (CWCF) is a national, bilingual grassroots membership organization of and for worker co-operatives, related types of co-operatives (multi-stakeholder co-ops and worker-shareholder co-ops), and organizations that support the growth and development of worker cooperatives.  CWCF’s e-newsletter is available free of charge to anyone with an e-mail address and an interest in worker co-operative developments in Canada.

By Kaye Grant, CWCF
Image from Sustainability Solutions Group

See our report: “A Cooperative Solution to Climate Change”

Canadian Cities Explore Additional Measures for Achieving Low Carbon Future

New report highlights current progress, existing challenges and further opportunities for low-carbon development in Canadian cities

A new research report, “Low Carbon Futures in Canada: The Role of Urban Climate Change Mitigation” released today explores Canadian cities’ commitments to urban GHG emissions reduction efforts and outlines concrete opportunities for further action, including shifting focus beyond energy and enlisting federal support for these initiatives.

The report, written by Torrie Smith Associates with the support of Bloomberg Philanthropies and Stockholm Environment Institute, found that Canadian cities and local governments are essential to creating a breakthrough for a low carbon future in Canada. More than 80 percent of Canadian citizens live in the top 10 largest metropolitan areas – making Canada’s population among the most urban globally.  Despite this fact, only 46 percent of Canada’s overall emission footprint is generated in urban areas, compared with the global average of 70 percent. Read more