Climate Change Threatens Children’s Right to Healthy Environment

Today the CCRC  is joining other groups to apply for intervenor status in current court challenges relating to climate change.  The CCRC plans to draw the court’s attention to children’s right to a healthy environment under the Convention on the Rights of the Child.  We are presenting evidence to show the disproportionate impact for children and the duty of all governments to give top priority to the best interests of children through serious action to address climate change, including a price on pollution.  Below is a joint statement by all partners in this initiative to protect the rights of children now and into the future.

 Hockey Moms, Commuters, Doctors & Kids Defend Pricing Pollution In Court

Generation Squeeze is leading a coalition of groups who seek intervenor status in the Saskatchewan and Ontario Courts of Appeal to defend the constitutionality of pricing pollution. Saskatchewan and Ontario provincial governments have challenged Ottawa’s authority to impose a carbon price on provinces who fail to establish their own.

The Coalition’s application to intervene in the Saskatchewan reference was filed today.

“Not only is pricing pollution a national concern, it’s necessary to prevent discrimination against younger Canadians, because climate change threatens our health and the well being of future generations,” explains Dr. Paul Kershaw, Founder of Generation Squeeze, and a professor in the UBC School of Population Health.  That is the position we hope to bring to the Courts as they review the constitutionality of Ottawa’s Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act.

Generation Squeeze is a voice for younger generations in politics and the market, backed by cutting-edge research.  Our coalition includes the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE), the Saskatchewan Public Health Association, the Public Health Association of BC, the Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children, and the Youth Climate Lab.

“We’ve joined Gen Squeeze in defending the constitutionality of pricing pollution,” explains Kim Perrotta, Executive Director of CAPE, “because fighting climate change may be the greatest opportunity to promote population health in the 21st century, especially if we can limit global temperature increases to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times.”

“Our participation is important” reports Dominique Souris of the Youth Climate Lab, “because hardships imposed by climate change to our health, economy and biosphere fall disproportionately to younger generations, along with those who walk in our footsteps. Delaying serious action on climate change undermines our reasonable aspiration to thrive in 2030 and beyond.”

“The science is clear. The longer we delay actions on reductions to carbon emissions in our country, the greater the burden of illness on Canadians,” explains Wanda Martin, Past President of the Saskatchewan Public Health Association.” These burdens will be greatest on young Canadians and future generations.

“That’s because health doesn’t start with health care,” adds Shannon Turner, Executive Director of the Public Health Association of BC.  “Health begins where we are born, grow, live, work and age, and those conditions are already being made less healthy by climate change.”

“Children have a right to a healthy environment,” emphasizes Kathy Vandergrift, Chair of the Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children. “The Convention on the Rights of the Child requires governments to give priority to the best interests of children in climate change policy.”

If Canada is to meet sustainability targets set in the Paris Climate Accord, younger Canadians must reduce our ecological footprints over the next years at a rate that is 3x faster than did Canadians over the last four decades.

 “We’ll take on this added burden,” explains Kershaw. “But we need governments to join in by using every available tool in the toolbox to reduce carbon emissions. Research shows pricing pollution is a key tool, because people pollute more when pollution isn’t priced.”

Accordingly, Generation Squeeze has launched our “1.5 to Thrive. Pollution Can’t Be Free” petition in conjunction with our legal action (  Some political leaders imply that Canadians don’t want to price carbon. We plan to demonstrate otherwise. In partnership with others, we plan to mobilize the strong public support required by politicians of all party-stripes to make bold, evidence-based decisions to price pollution. The alternative discriminates against younger and future Canadians, because not pricing pollution threatens our health.





Leave a Reply