羅藍德律師事務所（Paliare Roland Barristers）及環境正義（Ecojustice）組成的義務律師團18日向法院表示，加拿大政府違反了從2007年6月22日開始生效的聯邦法──《京都議定書實施法》（Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act, or KPIA）。
加拿大地球之友執行長奧立瓦斯奇（Beatrice Olivastri）指出，「正當其他工業國積極行動要減少溫室氣體排放、對抗氣候變遷時，我們的政府卻提供排放者未來幾十年的污染排放假期( pollution holidays )。」
Canada today became the first country ever to be brought to court for failing to comply with its legal commitments to combat global warming.
Friends of the Earth Canada is suing the Conservative government led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper for following a strategy to reduce greenhouse gases that fails to meet Canada's obligations under the Kyoto Protocol.
The lawsuit is the first in the world to seek enforcement of the protocol, an international treaty ratified by 180 countries, including Canada.
Heard in Federal Court in Toronto, the legal action could force the government to create a new plan to reduce Canada's greenhouse gases six percent below 1990 levels, a legally binding target the current government says the country cannot meet.
Pro-bono lawyers from Paliare Roland Barristers and Ecojustice told the court today that the government is in violation of the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act, or KPIA, a federal law enacted on June 22, 2007.
"The case is about defending the fundamental principle that the government must be accountable and comply with the law," said Ecojustice lawyer Hugh Wilkins. "The government cannot pick and choose which laws to obey. The law is the law."
The KPIA requires that, "Within 60 days after this Act comes into force and not later than May 31 of every year thereafter until 2013, the Minister [of the Environment] shall prepare a Climate Change Plan" that describes measures to be taken to ensure that Canada meets its obligations under the protocol.
Environment Minister John Baird has not prepared such a plan.
Under the KPIA, the Cabinet was required to pass binding, final regulations in December 2007, but they have not.
"Put simply, Canada has failed to comply with the law," said lawyer Chris Paliare, who is arguing the case. "We are asking the court to declare that the government is bound by the law and must be held accountable to the will of Parliament."
Of the 38 industrialized nations with binding international targets under the Kyoto Protocol, Canada is the only country that has indicated that it does not intend to meet its obligations.
"While other industrialized countries actively work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fight climate change, our government has offered pollution holidays for emitters for decades to come," said Beatrice Olivastri, chief executive of Friends of the Earth Canada.
"This government has broken the law," she said, "and, as Canadian citizens, we have both a moral and legal imperative to insist on enforcement of our own laws on climate action."