Climate activist Greta Thunberg, who has met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, is the headline signatory on a letter to UN ambassadors of small island developing states, in a June 10, 2020 story. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Greta Thunberg pushes Canada, Norway, on climate before UN Security Council vote

Thunberg says Canada is nowhere near hitting its Paris climate agreement targets

OTTAWA — Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg is urging developing island nations to use the upcoming United Nations Security Council election as leverage to push Canada and Norway to step up their games on climate change.

The 17-year-old from Sweden has become one of the most recognized climate activists in the world with her climate strike movement growing into a global phenomenon last year.

She is the headline signatory on a letter to UN ambassadors of small island developing states, which says that Canada and Norway both give lip service to climate action but remain steadfast in their commitment to expand fossil fuel production and subsidizing oil companies.

“For the young generation who will inherit the consequences of these decisions, it is critical that those who claim to be leading on climate action are held to account for decisions they are making back at home,” the letter reads.

Three other youth climate activists and 22 global climate scientists also signed the letter, including Eddy Carmack, a recently retired Fisheries and Oceans Canada scientist who was awarded the Order of Canada this year for his work on climate change.

The letter asks the ambassadors to raise the issue with Canada and Norway “and demand that they unite behind the science” of climate change, commit to no new oil and gas exploration or production, and phase out their existing production.

Canada is going up against Norway and Ireland for the two seats available in next week’s election to the prestigious UN body. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has devoted a lot of political capital to trying to win the spot.

With most European nations expected to side with their continental neighbours, Canada has put its effort into wooing countries in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean, including most of the more than three-dozen island nations targeted by Wednesday’s letter. Trudeau has spoken or met directly with the leaders of nearly one-third of those countries since February.

Norway and Canada both have economies heavily based on oil and gas. Ireland has very little fossil fuel production and last year committed to ending oil and gas exploration altogether.

Thunberg first expressed her discontent with Canada’s climate policies directly to Trudeau last September, when the two met in Montreal on the same day hundreds of thousands of Canadians took to the streets as part of a global climate strike.

In their letter, Thunberg and the others say that Canada is nowhere close to hitting its Paris climate agreement targets. They also say Canada is the second-biggest supplier of fossil fuel subsidies among the world’s wealthiest 20 countries and has opened up billions of dollars in loans to fossil fuel companies as part of its COVID-19 economic aid.

Oil companies have been particularly hard hit from a combination of plummeting demand for oil products, and a production war between Saudi Arabia and Russia than flooded the world with more oil at a time it was already using less.

For major oil companies, and other big corporations, to qualify for the loans, Canada does require them to show a climate plan and how their business is helping Canada meet its emissions targets.

The letter writers said if Canada was serious about implementing the Paris agreement it would make permanent its temporary ban on extracting oil and gas in the Arctic, cancel both the Trans Mountain and Keystone XL pipeline projects, and end all subsidies to the oil and gas industry.

They give Canada credit for promising to make climate change a regular part of the Security Council’s discussions, and push for it to create a new special representative for climate security.

The letter writers are also critical of Norway for continuing to increase oil and gas exports, saying Norway now exports 10 times as many emissions as it produces domestically. They point out there is a vote on June 12 in the Norwegian parliament that could increase tax benefits for oil companies as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The letter says Norway should eliminate, rather than expand, those tax benefits.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 10, 2020.

Greta Thunbergoil & gas

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

COVID-19: Central zone at four active

Alberta confirms 130 cases Monday

Sylvan Lake woman distressed after cat shot at with pellet gun, loses its eye

Warning: Photo may be disturbing to some. Evelina Cornell’s cat Ms Grey was shot in the face and hip

PHOTOS: Sylvan Lakers take in the sun, Saturday morning

Physical activity, picnics and time in the water are activities residents took part in

Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery re-opens with display by Benalto artist

A display by Benalto artist David More showcases Sylvan Lake in the summertime

Albertans get an extra free order of COVID-19 masks

Packages will be available July 13 at fast food restaurants

QUIZ: A celebration of dogs

These are the dog days of summer. How much do you know about dogs?

Stop enforcing sex work laws during COVID-19, Amnesty, sex worker advocates say

Stop enforcing sex work laws during COVID-19, Amnesty, sex worker advocates say

Migrant workers stage multi-city action for full status amid COVID-19 risks

Migrant workers stage multi-city action for full status amid COVID-19 risks

Alberta First Nation monitors hundreds for COVID-19 as it announces curfew

Alberta First Nation monitors hundreds for COVID-19 as it announces curfew

Edmonton hospital stops admitting patients due to COVID-19 outbreak

Edmonton hospital stops admitting patients due to COVID-19 outbreak

MPs reviewing virtual voting options to bolster COVID-19 Parliament

MPs reviewing virtual voting options to bolster COVID-19 Parliament

COVID-19 scare sees Latvia-bound troops turn around, return to Canada

COVID-19 scare sees Latvia-bound troops turn around, return to Canada

First glimpse of Canada’s true COVID-19 infection rate expected mid-July

First glimpse of Canada’s true COVID-19 infection rate expected mid-July

RBC ups targets to build talent pipeline, promote those in underrepresented groups

RBC ups targets to build talent pipeline, promote those in underrepresented groups

Most Read