Dear Ambassador Stewart,

As the country of Canada burned through fires raging across the country this summer, displacing people, destroying ecosystems, and throwing smoke into the air, and the world suffered extreme impacts of climate change in every region, we, the Laudato Si Movement, as a global movement, encourage Canada to “[consider] the common good and the future of their
children, more than short-term interests” in making and implementing urgent and bold commitments to respond to the climate crisis (Laudate Deum, 60).

Canada has made profound steps forward to achieve real progress in the ecological crisis, such as through bringing forward the Clean Energy Regulations and cutting emissions by 6.5% since 2005 (Climate Action Network, 2023). We applaud these important steps forward.

However, we also recognize that much more work is urgently needed in order to not only have a liveable Canada, but also a liveable world. Canada continues to have an outsized impact on the climate crisis particularly through regulations and policies around deforestation, mining, and fossil fuel extraction, both within and beyond Canada. Canadian companies continue to write more chapters in a history of colonialism through further fossil fuel and mineral exploration and extraction, harming the climate, ecosystems, and communities. These actions are causing global harm, the measurement of which is incalculable. Instead we must seek “a healthy ecology [which] is also the result of interaction between human beings and the environment, as occurs in the indigenous cultures and has occurred for centuries in different regions of the earth” (Laudate Deum, 27).

In concert with Catholic communities across the country, we ask Canada’s Government to commit to the following, moving in the haste necessary to recognize adequately that we are in a climate emergency (For the Love of Creation’s Faith-In-Action campaign):

  1. Increase its greenhouse gas emissions target from reducing emissions by 40-45% below 2005 levels by 2030, to 60% in the same timeframe. Rather than decreasing, emissions from Canada’s oil and gas industry continue to grow, proving Pope Francis’ statement in Laudate Deum true in Canada: “…the necessary transition towards clean energy sources such as wind and solar energy, and the abandonment of fossil fuels, is not progressing at the necessary speed” (55). Canada’s climate ambition must be increased; stopping all exploratory drilling and extraction, with a fair phase out and just transition. Canada must act urgently to finalize and enact policies targeting key sectors, such as its Clean Electricity Regulations, the Zero-Emissions Vehicle Standard, a Green Building Strategy, investment in public transit, and aligning Canada’s financial sector with net-zero emissions. A swift, science-based approach to ending the further exploration of fossil fuels in concert with implementing a just transition to clean energy, which is “efficient, obligatory and readily monitored,” is urgently needed in order to meet this target (Laudate Deum, 59).
  2. Increase support for climate adaptation from 40% of its current international climate finance commitment to at least 50%, in line with the Paris Agreement. Canada must ensure that international financing is gender-responsive, respects the rights of Indigenous communities under the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and is grants-based.
  3. Commit new and extensive public funds to meet Canada’s just share of responsibilities for loss and damage in the Global South. Such monies should not be part of current climate financing for mitigation and adaptation or official development assistance.

Natural resources have become a form of control over foreign debt. The climate crisis calls on the international community to rethink inequity. True ecological debt must come to light between the Global North and South, connected to the environmental impact of commercial imbalances and the disproportionate use of natural resources by certain countries over long periods of time. We all need to have the chance to be architects of our own future!

God’s creation is crying out to us, and all of us are suffering the consequences, with those on the margins impacted most (cf. LS 2). Rather than responding to this cry with urgency, compassion, and boldness as is needed, we have too frequently prioritized endless growth and profit margins at the expense of our sister, mother Earth, and our global family. As Pope Francis writes about the COP process, “‘International negotiations cannot make significant progress due to positions taken by countries which place their national interests above the global common good. Those who will have to suffer the consequences of what we are trying to hide will not forget this failure of conscience and responsibility’” (Laudate Deum, 52). We are praying for you, that you may be remembered for taking “action when it was urgent and necessary to do so” (Laudate Deum, 60). Now is the time, COP 28 is the place, where Canada can courageously lead on action to turn the tide on the climate crisis.

From the Exploratory Dialogue with Regional Members of the Laudato Si Movement on 25 October, 2023.