A coalition of 55 environmental and social justice groups have set out in a letter the policy changes Canada needs to make in order to live up to its Paris climate change commitments.

Representing hundreds of thousands of Canadians, the organizations sent their policy recommendations to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and all the provincial and territorial leaders on Thursday.

“This is a defining moment for your government - and indeed for our country,” reads the letter in part. “You have a tremendous opportunity to set Canada on the path to a safer climate future.”

As the Liberal government prepares for intergovernmental meetings on climate policy in early March and Trudeau prepares to meet U.S. President Barack Obama - also in March - for a state dinner on energy and climate, pressure has intensified on the federal government to iron out its policies around climate change.

The letter calls for a new science-based emission reduction target consistent with a 1.5 degree temperature rise; and a clear and measurable plan for a transition to 100 per cent renewable energy by 2050.

As well, the groups want to see an end to fossil fuel industry subsidies and increased investment in a green economy; as well as a carbon price established at $30 a tonne and increased over time, among other things.

“This is a defining moment for the Trudeau government,” said Lyn Adamson, co-chair of Climate Fast. “They have a tremendous opportunity to set Canada on the path to a safe, prosperous and sustainable energy future.

“It will require vision and courage to take this path, but we have no choice if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change.”

Groups signing the letter included Greenpeace, the Canadian Environmental Law Association, Pacific Wild, Friends of the Earth, Ecology Ottawa, the Council of Canadians, and Canadian Unitarians for Social Justice, among many others.

On Tuesday, a number of groups called on Canada and the U.S. to establish a common climate test for major resource projects, arguing that projects should be measured against the terms Trudeau and Obama agreed to in Paris.

Keep reading