The Climate Messengers is a grassroots group of individuals spread from Montreal to Vancouver who are concerned about climate change policy in Canada. We share expert-backed climate solutions with Canadians to spark the political will to enact effective climate policies. We have no funding, no budget, and no formal organizational structure. Right now, we want to share some thoughts with other citizens who are concerned about climate change, and especially with other grassroots ENGOs, on the NZAB Submission.
The NZAB was created by the Canadian Net-Zero Emission Accountability Act (the “Act”), which became law in June 2021. The NZAB mandate includes advising the Environment Minister on plans to achieve emissions reductions targets set under the Act. The Minister’s plan to achieve the 2030 target must be established by March 29th, and the NZAB made its advice public on March 21st.
All of the individuals on the NZAB are smart and honourable. Their efforts should be applauded. However, in drafting the Act, the government disregarded examples already enacted in the United Kingdom and New Zealand, where their advisory boards are almost entirely composed of experts with advanced degrees in climate change disciplines. Those boards oversee the work of a large staff of specialists, and the boards are required to produce specific, detailed advice that the relevant governments cannot readily disregard. Canada’s Act does not do any of this. As such, the NZAB Submission contains mostly general guidance, little specific advice, and almost no detail.
Certainly, the NZAB Submission covers many broad areas that the government and concerned citizens should know about. It makes some excellent suggestions, including: creating an online platform where citizens can track emissions data and key net-zero indicators in close to real time; improving public awareness and promotions campaigns to help shift towards net-zero; introducing Zero Emissions Vehicle Mandates quickly and aligning them with the most ambitious jurisdictions in the United States; and advising strongly against allowing one sector to offset credits in a different established sector for which options already exist to eliminate emissions without offsets.
Despite these positives, Canadians should be concerned about the lack of detail in the NZAB’s report. Grassroots groups and concerned citizens should demand that the Act be amended to create an advisory board of true experts with a strong and independent staff, with an obligation on the government to give considerable deference to that advisory body, when the Act is reviewed in 2026. Please see the Climate Messengers’ website for more information on this issue.
Learn more about the Advisory Body and its limitations in this video by Climate Messengers Canada.