Canada: Launch of Climate Emergency Unit with 14-point “Battle Plan”

The overarching goal of the Climate Emergency Unit is to press for the implementation of wartime-scale policies in Canada to confront the climate emergency.

The Climate Emergency Unit is a five-year initiative of the David Suzuki Institute, which works with all sectors to find solutions to the climate emergency. They seek to move governments and leaders in Canada into true climate emergency mode, pressing them to adopt ambitious policies that align with what science says must be done.

The unit’s work is inspired by and seeks to advance the ideas in Seth Klein’s 2020 book A Good War: Mobilizing Canada for the Climate Emergency. This includes:

  • Engaging with leaders from all levels of civil society to develop bold climate emergency plans.
  • Convening organisations that want to work together on a climate emergency agenda.
  • Training others in how to build for genuine climate emergency solutions.
  • Promoting the need for ambitious climate emergency solutions across Canada.
“The time is short. The task is great. Join us in pressing our leaders into service.”

Klein’s book calls on us to adopt an entirely new and different approach to the climate crisis than the one we’ve pursued to date. Here is an excerpt from the Climate Emergency Unit’s website:


How do you know when a government gets the emergency?

“We contend there are four markers for when you know that a government has shifted into emergency mode:

  1. It spends what it takes to win.

  2. It creates new economic institutions to get the job done.

  3. It shifts from voluntary and incentive-based policies to mandatory measures with clear, near-term dates.

  4. It tells the truth about the severity of the crisis and communicates a sense of urgency about the measures necessary to combat it.

(For more on this 4-marker approach, see here.)

During the Second World War, the Canadian government did all these things. Similarly, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, our governments have mostly passed all four markers. But with respect to the climate emergency – thus far at least – our current federal and provincial governments are failing on all four counts.

→ For more on what a wartime approach should look like, see Klein’s 14-point “Battle Plan” HERE, and his articles HERE, HERE and HERE.

→ Learn more about the Climate Emergency Unit’s work in Canada on

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