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Canada’s environment minister hails Paris Agreement on climate change


December 15, 2015   by Canadian Underwriter


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Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, has hailed the Paris Agreement on climate change that was adopted by 195 countries on Saturday at the Conference of Parties (COP21).

Collectively, the countries of the world agreed to strengthen the global response to limit global average temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius, as well as pursue efforts to limit increase to 1.5 degrees

“Collectively, the countries of the world agreed to strengthen the global response to limit global average temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius, as well as pursue efforts to limit increase to 1.5 degrees,” McKenna said in a statement. “We need to do this to avoid the harshest impact of climate change on our geography, livelihoods and health. Today is a historic day and it gives me great pride that Canada, alongside the countries of the world has reached an ambitious and balanced agreement to fight climate change.”

According to the Climate Action Programme, which works in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme, the Paris Agreement and the outcomes of COP21 cover all the crucial areas identified as essential for a landmark conclusion: mitigation – reducing emissions fast enough to achieve the temperature goal; a transparency system and global stock-take – accounting for climate action; adaptation – strengthening ability of countries to deal with climate impacts; loss and damage – strengthening ability to recover from climate impacts; and support – including finance, for nations to build clean, resilient futures.

McKenna said in the statement that already Canadians can “see and feel” the effects of climate change: floods in Alberta, wildfires across British Columbia and coastline receding in Prince Edward Island. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, McKenna and her colleagues “will now work with the provinces and territories to establish a pan Canadian framework that is consistent with the outcome reached in Paris for combatting climate change,” she said.

“We will support our communities and our economy by making significant new investments in green infrastructure and clean technologies,” McKenna said. “Not only will these strategic investments help us tackle climate change, they will also create jobs. Canadian businesses now have an incredible opportunity to be part of the solution and to help build a low-carbon economy.”

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also welcomed the adoption of the new agreement, saying that government representatives and negotiators have made history. Addressing COP21 delegates moment after the deal was confirmed, Ki-moon said “in the face of an unprecedented challenge, you have demonstrated unprecedented leadership. You have worked collaboratively to achieve something that no one nation could achieve alone.”

Ki-moon noted that a review mechanism has been established as part of the agreement whereby every five years, beginning in 2018, parties will regularly review the progress of their commitments.