Madam Speaker, it is an honour for me to rise in the House today to debate Bill C-12, which our government introduced in the House.
This bill, which is entitled the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act, is the culmination of many years of advocacy, work and national and international negotiations. It proposes a legislative framework to support our goal of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050. The need for this net-zero target is based on the best scientific knowledge available, which was clearly set out in the most recent special report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, in 2018.
The report clearly illustrates the devastating effects of global warming of 1.5°C. It shows that human-induced warming has already reached an average of approximately 1°C above pre-industrial levels. I want to clarify, for the benefit of the House, that experts agree that humans are responsible for this warming, unlike what was said at the Conservative Party convention.
The science is clear: to hold the temperature increase to 1.5°C and stave off the worst effects of climate warming, we must achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. The Paris Agreement, to which Canada is a signatory, echoes these findings. It calls on governments around the world to take urgent, ambitious climate change action to maintain climate warming well below the bar of 2°C and pursue efforts to limit it to below 1.5°C. This would prevent the worst consequences of climate change, and it is urgent that we act quickly so as not miss this positive opportunity that is slipping through our fingers.
It is extremely important to not only act quickly, but effectively. That is why the government established the net-zero advisory body, an independent body that will help Canada achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. It will ensure that national greenhouse gas emission targets are established using the best available data. This advisory body will provide the Government of Canada with expert advice on how to reduce our emissions, reach our objectives and ensure that Canada excels in the net-zero economy of the 21st century. We expect that the proposed measures will serve as a catalyst for long-term growth that fosters low carbon emissions, sustainable jobs and our collective health and safety.
Canada is not alone in aiming for net zero by 2050. Many other countries, as well as provincial and state governments, cities and businesses have rallied to the net zero by 2050 target. Some countries have already legislated or signalled their intent to legislate their commitment to achieve net zero by 2050. These include Norway, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, New Zealand and Japan. Here in Canada, Quebec has committed, Nova Scotia has legislated its commitment, and British Columbia's current government has also pledged to do so.
This push to achieve net zero by 2050 and the steps many governments have pledged to take to achieve that goal unite not just the international community but all segments of society, including environmental government agencies, unions, first nations, indigenous peoples and the private sector. Furthermore, environmental organizations such as Ecojustice, the David Suzuki Foundation, Équiterre and many others see the introduction of Bill C-12 as a major step forward for Canada.
Combined with a strong plan to fight climate change, this legislative framework will provide the necessary transparency and accountability, no matter which party is in power, throughout the entirety of the important and crucial challenge of achieving net-zero emissions.
Many large Canadian companies have already committed to reaching net-zero emissions by 2050. Furthermore, some Canadian companies such as Maple Leaf Foods and the Canadian Automobile Association, or CAA, are already carbon neutral.
In light of these efforts on all fronts, it is now Canada's turn to commit to reaching net-zero emissions by introducing the Canadian net-zero emissions accountability act. This act will require national greenhouse gas emissions targets to be set every five years starting in 2030 in order to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. This approach will ensure transparency with regard to the measures and progress necessary to reach this goal, earning Canadians' trust.
This legislation will create accountability to ensure we are meeting our targets. It also gives the Minister of Environment and Climate Change additional responsibilities, including the tabling of several progress reports and plans before Parliament.
If the target is not met in any given year, Canada will have to disclose why the target was not met. It will also be required to provide a description of actions the government is taking or will take to address the failure to achieve the target.
The legislation also requires the Minister of Finance to work with the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to prepare an annual report respecting key measures that the federal public administration has taken to manage its financial risks and opportunities related to climate change.
We know that the cost of climate inaction can be very high. We need only think of the financial implications of natural disasters, not to mention the immense and immeasurable cost of lost biodiversity. These reports, enshrined in law, will ensure this financial transparency related to climate risks.
Finally, the legislation requires the commissioner of the environment and sustainable development to examine and report on the government's implementation of measures aimed at mitigating climate change at least once every five years.
All of these measures in the Canadian net-zero emissions accountability act will ensure a clear and credible process for setting our targets and will allow for transparency and accountability on the progress made. This accountability is essential as Canada commits to net-zero emissions by 2050 and as we meet our new and ambitious target for 2030.
I remind members that the government announced a more detailed plan to meet our Paris commitments last fall. This plan included new investments to support and encourage Canadian businesses and help them expedite the transition to a successful, net-zero and sustainable economy that is, most importantly, globally competitive.
As the Prime Minister said, “Our most important international partners and competitors are positioning themselves to attract investment in new clean technologies. Canada needs to do at least that, if not more.”
Net zero offers the biggest economic opportunities of our age and will ensure a viable future for us, our children and our children's children. A few months after releasing our detailed plan, we responded to Canadians, who called on us to be even more ambitious and exceed our 2030 target under the Paris Agreement by almost a third for a total greenhouse gas emissions reduction of 40% to 45% by 2030.
Achieving our climate targets is ambitious, long-term work that requires immediate action on the part of all governments in Canada, industry, government organizations, indigenous peoples and the entire population. It is important to recognize the individual and collective actions already taken on this front. Provincial and territorial actions are very important to ensuring Canada's success in the fight against climate change. They will complement our actions and enable us to exceed our targets. The provinces and territories continue to announce ambitious new objectives and actions.
Just recently, the Government of Quebec launched the 2030 plan for a green economy, a policy framework for the electrification of transportation and to fight climate change. Although the bill before us today does not impose any obligations on the provinces and territories, their opinions and contributions, along with those of indigenous peoples, experts, non-governmental organizations and citizens, will be solicited with regard to the targets and plans prepared under the Canadian net-zero emissions accountability act.
A single government cannot transform our economy for the future and ensure a prosperous net-zero emissions future by 2050 on its own. I dream of the day that the Conservative Party of Canada, like the Conservative Party of Great Britain, will recognize the importance of climate change and of having serious plans and targets in place to address it.
I hope that the members of the opposition will support Bill C-12, which will hold us all accountable for this net-zero emissions future. This bill is necessary not only for the transparency it will bring, but also for the positive impact it will have on the health, opportunities and well-being of our children and grandchildren. It is a question of fairness.