Sierra Club Canada calls on Canadian Chamber of Commerce to back action on climate change

OTTAWA – Today, Sierra Club Canada wrote to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce asking it to withdraw the template letter it recently distributed to its members. Chamber members were asked to send the letter to Senators urging them to oppose Bill C-311, the Climate Change Accountability Act. The letter is a classic example of doublespeak. While it claims "we must respond to climate change," it suggests Canada do it by developing our energy sector. In other words, vote against science-based emissions targets because we must expand oil, gas, coal and the tar sands.

"We have asked the Chamber to withdraw its appeal to members because it is misleading and does not fairly explain the purpose and potential outcome of the Climate Change Accountability Act," said John Bennett, Executive Director of Sierra Club Canada. "The Chamber should be honest with its members and explain that the targets outlined in the Climate Change Accountability Act are based on what we must do to avert a climatic catastrophe. Also, reaching those targets will create tremendous opportunities for businesses across Canada."

The Climate Change Accountability Act was passed in April after working its way through Parliament for two years. It is designed to ensure Canada meets the challenge of climate change based on scientific targets. The challenge is to keep global temperature rise below 2 degrees centigrade. To do that, IPCC scientists have said industrialized countries must reduce emissions by 20%-25% below 1990 levels by 2020 and as much as 80% below by the middle of the century.

"The targets are essential. Canada has talked about climate change for 20 years. The result has been a continual rise in emissions. The crime is we are allowing this to happen to satisfy the greed of the oil industry. The Chamber is telling its members that building tar sand mines is the solution to climate change. Let's be honest: burning fossil fuels causes climate change. Exporting more and more makes things worse and worse," said Mr. Bennett.

All Sierra Club Canada members and supporters are being urged to contact the Chamber of Commerce and express their concern.



Robb Barnes
Media Officer
Sierra Club Canada
613.241.4611 x230