canada: holding government accountable for lack of climate action
The organization's case is the first in the world to call for enforcement of the Kyoto Protocol. Represented by Ecojustice Canada and Paliare Roland Barristers, Friends of the Earth is seeking a declaration that the Environment Minister has not complied with provisions of the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act (KPIA), which require the Minister of the Environment to prepare a climate change plan and regulations setting out measures to ensure that Canada meets its Kyoto obligations. Friends of the Earth argues that the Minister's Plan does not meet the requirements of the KPIA, and requests that an order in the nature of mandamus be issued requiring the Minister to comply with the KPIA and to prepare a revised plan and regulations that meet the requirements of the Act.
Friends of the Earth Canada initially filed a lawsuit in May 2007 under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act alleging that Canada was "likely to violate" the Act's international air pollution provision. However, in June 2007, the opposition parties and Senate of Canada passed the KPIA into law requiring the Environment Minister to file a plan and issue draft and final regulations that would meet Canada's obligations under Article 3, paragraph 1 of the Kyoto Protocol. Canada's subsequent climate change plan, filed to comply with the KPIA, stuck with the Conservative's earlier strategy that leaves Canada's greenhouse gas emissions at almost 35% above the Kyoto target of 6% emission reduction by 2012.
Friends of the Earth Canada's KPIA case raises the fundamental question of whether a Minister of the Crown is accountable for ignoring the will of Parliament. Friends of the Earth submits that the Minister of Environment has defied the will of Parliament and dispensed with the rule of law by refusing to comply with the mandatory requirements of the KPIA.
A hearing date is anticipated in the spring of 2008.