CYD Open Letter to Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna

CYD Open Letter to Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna


Dear Minister McKenna,

As members of the youth, we have grown up in a world where those most responsible for perpetuating the climate crisis hold a disproportionate amount of financial and political power. On the other hand, those that are most vulnerable to extreme climate events—predominantly racialized and Indigenous groups—are also the ones that are already the most marginalized. We call upon the Canadian government to play an active role in reversing this damaging power dynamic by shifting power away from corporations that are exacerbating this crisis. We need to see you promoting solutions that empower the Indigenous and frontline communities most impacted by climate change.

We applaud your recent support for the call from the world’s most climate-vulnerable countries to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. However, we believe that for Canada to endorse this target in good faith must also mean that Canada will drastically strengthen federal commitments to climate action. The government must do all in its power to fight hard for a strong, honest, and just deal in Paris.


The following actions would put Canada on a better path towards global responsibility and leadership at the COP21 negotiations:

• Commit to a national goal of reaching zero emissions by 2050

• Fully implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

• Pledge to end fossil fuel subsidies immediately and sever the close relationship between the federal government and the fossil fuel industry

• Commit to pay Canada’s fair share in climate finance for loss and damage, adaptation and mitigation (The current commitments of $800 million per year by 2020 are a start, but are ultimately insufficient relative to our fair share of at least $4 billion per year by 2020.)


Canada should then take the following actions to ensure a just agreement in Paris:

• Continue to campaign for the inclusion of the rights of Indigenous peoples, human rights, and a just transition in the Paris agreement text

• Call for the inclusion of just provisions for loss and damage and climate finance

• Support the ongoing review as well as the strengthening of existing national targets, acknowledging that current INDCs are insufficient for the needs of our planet

• Stand behind a global goal of decarbonization by 2060-2080 that takes into account differentiated responsibilities for climate change


As young people born out of this era of crisis, we have been waiting our entire lives for meaningful action on climate change. We are tired of watching our government privilege the interests of fossil fuel companies, corporations profiting off the climate crisis, at the expense of Indigenous peoples and frontline communities   We call on you to live up to the promises that you have made and to help us usher in an era of climate justice. We call on you to truly prove that real change is possible.

With hope that together we can build a future in which climate justice is possible for all,

The Canadian Youth Delegation - Délégation Jeunesse Canadienne