The climate crisis is the greatest threat facing humanity. Floods, ice storms, and droughts are increasing. Our planet is heating up because of human-caused carbon pollution, and it’s putting our water, food and health at risk. We can solve this, but we need to act now.

The Solution

To avoid dangerous levels of climate change, we need to completely phase-out polluting fossil fuels and reduce our carbon pollution to zero by mid-century. That means saying no to dirty fossil fuels and yes to modern, clean energy. It means building a thriving clean economy.

Capping Tar Sands Pollution

The tar sands are the fastest growing source of carbon pollution in Canada and a massive barrier to meaningful climate action. We’re working to cap their expansion, raise awareness about how these projects are damaging water, air, soil, wildlife, communities and Indigenous lands, and working with others to find ways to stop and eventually repair the damage.

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Building a Clean Economy

We don’t need to choose between the environment and the economy. Reducing carbon pollution will lead to cleaner air, improved public health, new jobs, and exciting opportunities for Canadian companies as the world moves to a clean economy.

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Stopping the Energy East Pipeline

The Energy East Pipeline is the largest pipeline plan in North America. TransCanada’s plan to pump 1.1 million barrels of oil per day from Alberta to Canada’s East Coast for export is all risk, and no reward for communities and ecosystems across Canada.

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New research shows that methane emissions from Canadian oil and gas operations are much higher than previously thought. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas with significant environmental and health effects. Canada needs strong regulations to reduce harmful methane leaks by oil and gas companies and eliminate them completely by 2030.

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Breaking News

10 Key Considerations for Low-Carbon Communities

Rodney Wilts is a partner at Windmill Development Group, an Ontario-based urban development group with a very special business ethos.  Windmill builds homes, offices, and...

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We can have a strong economy and protect the environment...but not the way the Canadian government is doing it

  Last week we published a report laying out important research from two leading economists showing that Canada can meet or exceed our commitments under the...

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What the frack?! Canada wants to exempt tar sands and fracking from environmental assessment

The federal government wants to exempt some of the highest-carbon energy projects in Canada—in situ tar sands and fracking—from undergoing a federal environmental assessment. At...

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Carbon pricing has no downside, so why are we still arguing about it?

  Two new reports from the Clean Economy Alliance lend even more support to the growing evidence from economists and scientists that carbon pricing is a...

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Here is some of the progress we’ve been a part of to reduce carbon emissions and build a clean economy:


The Paris Agreement passes thresholds to become international law

With the European Union ratifying the Paris Agreement in October 2016, the accord will become international law less than a year after it was agreed to in December 2015. Countries, including Canada, now must step up with more ambitious pledges to ensure the agreement’s long-term goals are achieved. Environmental Defence will continue to urge Canada to step up to become a climate leader.


A price on carbon across Canada

In October 2016, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that all provinces and territories must implement an escalating carbon price by 2018, or the federal government will step in and implement one. Environmental Defence was widely quoted in media, explaining that a pan-Canadian price on carbon is an important element of a climate change strategy, one that signals to polluters that the atmosphere can no longer be used as a free dumping ground.


Energy East review delayed

In fall 2016, the National Energy Board review of TransCanada’s proposed Energy East pipeline was suspended indefinitely after review panel members recused themselves over a perceived conflict of interest. We're calling on the review to be cancelled and restarted only when the broken pipeline review process is overhauled.


Oil sands advisory board established

In June 2016, the Alberta government appointed an oil sands advisory board to provide advice to government on the implementation of the oil sands emission cap and to address issues related to reducing the impact of oil sands extraction on air, land, water and biodiversity. Our Executive Director Tim Gray is one of 15 members on the advisory board.


Ontario unveils an ambitious climate change action plan

In June 2016, Ontario announced a comprehensive plan to cut carbon emissions from transportation, buildings, industry, electricity, agriculture and waste and create jobs and business opportunities in the transition to a low-carbon economy. Environmental Defence provided insight and expertise in the development of this plan.


Ontario passes historic climate legislation

In May 2016, Ontario passed Bill 172, which enshrines the province's climate targets in law and puts in place a cap-and-trade program to put a price on carbon pollution. The legislation commits Ontario to reinvesting revenues from cap-and-trade in complementary actions to cut carbon emissions – a key element that Environmental Defence called for.


First Ministers agree to develop pan-Canadian climate framework

In March 2016, we cheered when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and provincial and territorial premiers came to an unprecedented agreement in Vancouver: that Canada would ratify the Paris Agreement, sign up to legally-binding carbon reduction targets, and that the federal governments and provinces would together develop a pan-Canadian climate framework that included carbon pricing.


Ontario developing a climate change plan & and commits to cap and trade.

Ontario’s commitment to address climate change and cut carbon is outlined in its Climate Change Strategy. A key component is the introduction of a cap-and-trade system starting in 2017 that will reduce carbon emissions and generate funds for complementary actions, like more residential solar panels, which will further cut emissions.


Highlighting Canada’s need for climate action

At the U.N. climate summit in Paris, Canada supported a global agreement to limit global warming to 1.5. degrees. Canada must now strengthen its own emissions reduction commitment to keep that international obligation and to ensure a safe climate future. We’re working to ensure Canada turns its strong words in Paris into climate actions at home.  


Alberta Climate strategy

 The new Alberta government laid out a game-changing climate action plan. In addition to an economy-wide price on carbon, phasing out coal, and spurring renewables, the plan included a cap on tar sands emissions. We supported this plan as it is clear that for Canada to meet any meaningful carbon reduction target, a cap on tar sands emissions is essential.


Uniting the Clean economy alliance

In April of 2015 we helped unite a group of nearly 90 organizations including prominent Ontario businesses, industry associations, labour unions, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, health charities, and environmental groups. The alliance formed to support the Ontario government’s commitment to develop a climate change strategy and put a price on carbon.


Act on Climate March

In April 2015, more than 25,000 people from across Canada gathered in Quebec City to demand government action on climate. Environmental Defence helped thousands of concerned Ontario residents attend one of the largest climate marches in the country’s history.


Cacouna oil terminal cancelled

After massive opposition from Quebec residents and people across Canada, TransCanada was forced to cancel its planned Energy East export terminal in Cacouna, QC on the St. Lawrence River. The massive oil tanker terminal would have threatened endangered Beluga whales.


Obama rejects Keystone XL

President Obama took a stand and said he would not approve the Keystone XL pipeline project if it impacted the climate. In late 2015, he followed through and rejected TransCanada’s application to build the Keystone XL pipeline.


Ontario quits coal

Ontario’s phase out of burning coal for electricity was the single largest initiative to cut in greenhouse gas emissions in Canada and dramatically reduced the number of smog days to almost none, allowing Ontarians to breathe fresher air.  


Tar sands mines shelved

The expansion of the tar sands is far from inevitable. In 2014, several projects were shelved, including: Statoil’s Corner project, Total’s Joslyn mine and Shell’s Pierre River mine. We helped call attention to the challenges of extracting this high-cost, high carbon oil.


Conservation First Principle

The easiest way to cut carbon emissions is to use less energy. Ontario’s Conservation First principle prioritizes programs that can cut current and future energy usage even as the province’s population grows. Environmental Defence was a driving force in securing this initiative.


Built opposition to risky Line 9 pipeline

Line 9 is an aging oil pipeline owned by Enbridge Inc. that runs through some of the most densely populated parts of Canada. Enbridge wanted to use the line to ship heavy crude, including tar sands oil. The pipeline was not built for this purpose. We helped thousands of concerned residents speak out against this risky pipeline plan.


Green Energy Act

Ontario has a thriving renewable energy industry thanks to the Green Energy Act, which provides incentives for small and large producers to invest in wind and solar projects, encouraging job growth in the province.


Co-Founded Blue Green Canada

We co-founded Blue Green Canada, an alliance between labour unions, environmental and civil society organizations that advocates for working people and the environment by promoting solutions to environmental issues that have positive employment and economic impacts.

"As parents, we all want the very best for our children. Climate change is a great threat to their wellbeing and ours. For the sake of our children, we all have a part to do and we need to act fast."

-Hattie Wei, Toronto


At Environmental Defence, we educate the public about a host of environmental issues, work with business and government leaders to advise on policy decisions and mobilize Canadians to create the cleaner, greener more prosperous country we’re striving for. Meet the team who works on Climate and Clean Economy.

Patrick DeRochie

Program Manager, Climate & Energy

Keith Brooks

Programs Director

Dale Marshall

National Program Manager

Sarah Buchanan

Program Manager, Clean Economy

Join The Community

Change happens when people like you express your concern and make your voice heard. Join our online community of folks concerned about our changing climate. Join us in working to build a clean economy. We will send you a quarterly update on our campaigns, invitations to join us at events and opportunities for you to take action.

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