Blue Green Canada calls for Just Transition language in Paris Climate Agreement

We sent this letter to Canada’s COP21 delegation supporting Just Transition language in the Paris Climate Agreement


November 23, 2015

The Honourable Catherine McKenna, P.C., M.P.

Minister of Environment and Climate Change
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6
Dear Minister,

We write you as members of Blue Green Canada, an alliance of labour unions, environmental and civil society organizations, to encourage Canada’s delegation to the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP21) to support the continued inclusion of Just Transition language in the text of the Paris Agreement. 

We believe that a sustainable economy must provide good jobs and protect the environment, not one or the other. We applaud your government’s recognition of climate change as a Canadian concern and its commitment to show the world that Canada is serious about addressing environmental issues.

We encourage your government to work with other nations toward an effective international climate change agreement. Specifically, we call upon the Canadian delegation to negotiate for the continued inclusion of Just Transition and Decent Work language in the Articles of the future Paris Agreement.

Without Just Transition and Decent Work language in the operational portion of the Paris agreement, the cost for the transition to a low-carbon society would be unfairly born by working men and women.  Therefore, we urge you to keep Just Transition and Decent Work language in the preamble and operational Articles of the future Paris Agreement, as stated in the bracketed section of Article 2, Option 1 of the draft agreement and decision from October 23, 2015: 

“This agreement shall be implemented… while ensuring… a just transition of the workforce and creation of decent work and quality jobs in accordance with nationally defined development priorities…”

We would also like to remind you that references to this commitment were adopted by previous COP decisions, and for the Paris agreement to be truly sustainable, it must confirm commitments to a Just Transition.  

We look forward to working with your government to advance a shared agenda of building an economy that provides good jobs, protects the environment, respects workers, and supports a prosperous Canada for present and future generations.

Yours sincerely,

The Blue Green Canada - Board of Directors

Ken Neumann, National Director for Canada
United Steelworkers

Jerry Dias, National President

Tim Gray, Executive Director
Environmental Defence

Merran Smith, Executive Director
Clean Energy Canada

Charley Beresford, Executive Director
Columbia Institute

Rick Smith, Executive Director
Broadbent Institute

Ed Whittingham, Executive Director
Pembina Institute
cc: Louise Métivier Assistant Deputy Minister, International Affairs Branch and Chief Negotiator for Climate Change, Environment Canada 


Download Blue Green Canada's letter to Canada's delegation to COP 21