Senate Climate Emergency Motion

Text of the Motion

On November 24, 2021, Senator Galvez gave notice of the following motion in the Senate Chamber:

That the Senate of Canada recognize that:

a) climate change is an urgent crisis that requires an immediate and ambitious response;

b) human activity is unequivocally warming the atmosphere, ocean and land at an unprecedented pace, and is provoking weather and climate extremes in every region across the globe, including in the Arctic, which is warming at more than twice the global rate;

c) failure to address climate change is resulting in catastrophic consequences especially for Canadian youth, Indigenous Peoples and future generations; and

d) climate change is negatively impacting the health and safety of Canadians, and the financial stability of Canada;

That the Senate declare that Canada is in a national climate emergency which requires that Canada uphold its international commitments with respect to climate change and increase its climate action in line with the Paris Agreement’s objective of holding global warming well below two degrees Celsius and pursuing efforts to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius; and

That the Senate commit to action on mitigation and adaptation in response to the climate emergency and that it consider this urgency for action while undertaking its parliamentary business.


Other Resources

Official Text of the Motion

Press Release


  • As of March 21, 2022, 2,082 jurisdictions in 38 countries representing over 1 billion people have declared a climate emergency
  • As of March 21, 2022, 520 Canadian governments at all levels have adopted a climate emergency declaration
  • At the introduction of the motion, the Environment was the most important national issue of concern for Canadians (Nanos weekly tracking ending Nov. 19, 2021)

A declaration has the following benefits:

  • Solidarity: a declaration would signal solidarity with Canadians affected by extreme weather events.
  • Encourage increased ambition: a declaration could demonstrate to the government that the Senate is ready to support more ambitious climate action.
  • New mechanisms: a declaration can pave the way to new, more efficient mechanisms/modes of decision-making.
  • Shift in discourse: a declaration may enable future changes due to enduring changes in discourse.

However, purely symbolic declarations that are not accompanied with eventual concrete actions might have limited effect.

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