Students in Calgary to join global movement with rally for climate justice
CALGARY -- Canadian students from coast to coast will be taking to the streets Friday in protest of the federal government’s climate change plan.
Sept. 25 is considered a "Global Day of Action," marking the anniversary of the 2019 global climate strike organized by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg.
In Calgary, local chapters of the groups Friday’s For Future, Idle No More, and Extinction Rebellion are gathering for a noon demonstration at City Hall, followed by a march to McDougall Centre.
The "The Planet is On Fire... And So Are We" protest encourages participants to observe physical distancing, wear masks and wear black and red colours as it prompts governments to take climate change seriously.
Some of the demands from Calgary students include meeting the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change target of keeping the global rate of warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius and reaching net zero emissions in Canada by 2030.
The Canadian rallies call on all levels of government to make decisions based on what's best for the environment.
Several supporters have signed an online pledge at We Are Not Going Back, a website that includes an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland requesting Canada:
- Achieves zero emissions by 2030;
- Puts an end to the construction of new fossil fuel infrastructure;
- Invests 5% of Canada’s annual GDP in a just transition;
- Guarantees jobs and supports for oil and gas workers and other carbon-dependent industries;
- Pressures wealthier countries to meet targets limiting warming to 1.5°C while increasing financial support for countries in the Global South and others hit hardest by the climate crisis;
- Implements a climate lens on every policy decision, budget, and infrastructure investment.
In the throne speech this week, Gov. Gen. Julie Payette’s reiterated Canada’s commitment to taking better care of the environment.
"Climate action will be a cornerstone of our plan to create a million jobs," said Payette. "Prioritizing climate action will include an immediate plan to overshoot Canada's climate change targets for 2030. This will be supported by the creation of thousands of green jobs, and efforts to make zero-emission vehicles more affordable."
The federal government also has plans to work with industry stakeholders in the energy and agriculture sectors to move the country toward a net-zero future. It will also continue its policy of putting a price on pollution — otherwise known as a federal carbon tax.
Meanwhile, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is pushing back on looming emission regulations imposed by Ottawa, calling them “impractical,” and reinforcing his message that demand for Alberta oil will remain high.
"If you really think the billion people in India who wall want to move to a higher standard of living will all be driving Teslas, you're disconnected from reality," said Kenney. "There are billions around the world living in extreme poverty. They don't have all the luxury of affordable and reliable energy."