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Jonathan WilkinsonFederal environment minister Jonathan Wilkinson will join law students from the Cities and Climate Action Forum policy clinic for a public conversation Thursday.

Climate forum to host Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Windsor Law’s Cities and Climate Action Forum (CCAF) policy clinic will welcome Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Jonathan Wilkinson, for a public conversation over Zoom on Thursday, March 18, at 4:30 p.m.

Minister Wilkinson will be joined by Windsor-Tecumseh MP Irek Kusmierczyk for a conversation about cities' role in the new federal climate action plan, single-use plastic bans, urban parks, inclusive climate action, and more. This event will be moderated by CCAF students, including an audience question-and-answer period.

The federal government recently released its new climate action plan reaffirming its commitment to reaching net zero emissions by 2050, and Bill C-12 is the proposed accountability legislation to ensure it gets there. Yet the federal government cannot achieve these targets without other levels of government on board.

In particular, cities and other municipalities are responsible for more than 60 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions. They are also the level of government closest to the effects of climate change, and the ones with the power to address many of the inequitable and unsustainable outcomes of land use planning decisions — what has become known as “environmental racism.”

The Canadian government has been dedicating funds for municipalities to support sustainable infrastructure and a green recovery from COVID-19, but students question whether this approach is working to help reach the stated goals.

“Addressing climate change with the required urgency takes action from all levels of government,” says law student and clinic member Klaudia Grabkowska. “We need the federal government’s leadership, but implementation is largely at a local level. We’re excited to hear the minister’s thoughts on municipalities’ role in the new federal climate action plan and other federal-level policies on topics such as single use plastics and urban parks.”

Noting the City of Windsor and Essex County’s recent work to develop Community Energy Plans for meeting net-zero carbon emissions targets and transforming local economies, law student and clinic member Narmada Gunawardana states: “We look forward to hearing Minister Wilkinson’s plans for ensuring that climate action and economic development go hand in hand.”

Established in 2019, CCAF is a policy clinic that aims to increase public engagement, community capacity building, and support for municipalities on the policy tools of local-level climate action.

This event is free and open to the public. To attend, register on the Cities and Climate Action Forum website.

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