CPHA enters legal fight supporting carbon pricing to protect the health and security of all Canadians
The Canadian Public Health Association announced today that it will enter the legal battle over carbon pricing. Carbon pricing is a necessary part of Canada’s strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and curb the negative environmental, physical and mental health effects caused by inaction on climate change.
“Climate change is a critical public health issue that threatens to undermine the past century of gains in public health in Canada, achieved in part through CPHA’s efforts since it was founded in 1910,” the CPHA’s executive director Ian Culbert said. “Greenhouse gas pollution resulting from the burning of oil, coal and gas causes climate change, increasing global temperatures, and more extreme weather, rising sea levels and extremes of precipitation.”
CPHA has requested intervenor status in a Saskatchewan court reference case concerning the federal price on carbon pollution. Lawyers from Gowling WLG’s Environmental Law Group submitted the application on behalf of CPHA.
CPHA is filing in support of the federal law that ensures carbon pollution will be priced throughout the country. A coordinated effort will allow Canada to fulfil its commitment under the Paris Agreement and prevent premature deaths due to climate change.
The World Health Organization has said climate change is the biggest public health threat of this century and tackling it could be the greatest public health opportunity. Earlier this week, a report from the leading medical journal The Lancet identified carbon pricing as an essential part of the prescription to address climate change and protect human health. These arguments are central to CPHA’s case.
“There is scientific certainty that climate change will have severely negative impacts on human health in Canada and around the world. In Canada, public health impacts are expected to be particularly intense as warming is occurring at double the global rate. The resulting health outcomes in Canada include respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, the spread of vector-borne diseases like Lyme disease and the Zika virus, physical trauma and death,” said Mr. Culbert.
Saskatchewan’s reference case will be heard by the province’s Court of Appeal in February 2019. Ontario has launched a distinct reference case challenging the federal carbon pollution pricing plan, after cancelling its signature program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The cancelled Ontario “cap and trade” scheme would have complied with the federal standard. CPHA plans to request intervenor status in the Ontario Case.