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Federal, provincial and territorial governments working towards pan-Canadian framework to address climate change


February 1, 2016   by Canadian Underwriter


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Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial ministers of the environment came together for the first time ever to work towards the establishment of a pan Canadian framework to address climate change and grow the economy, the federal Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MECC) announced on Friday.

Over two days last week, the ministers had “productive discussions” on issues including economic opportunities, means of reducing emissions, including the importance of technological innovation, public engagement, carbon pricing and adapting to the effects of climate change

A backgrounder from MECC said that Canada’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are projected to be 768 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt CO2 eq) – a measure used to compare the emissions from different GHGs based upon their global warming potential – in 2020. By 2030, GHG emissions are projected to be 815 Mt CO2 eq.

“The data are clear and confirm that more needs to be done,” the federal, provincial and territorial ministers said in a joint press release issued by the ministry. “Our governments are now moving forward collaboratively to develop a framework and specific actions, including investments in green infrastructure, to meet the commitments we made in Paris in order to close the gap.”

The ministers were referring to COP21, the Conference of Parties in December that focused on climate change. The conference resulted in the “Paris Agreement” on climate change that was adopted by 195 countries. 

“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,” Catherine McKenna, Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change, said on Dec. 12. “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.” [click image below to enlarge]

Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions are projected to be 768 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt CO2 eq) in 2020 and 815 Mt CO2 eq in 2030

The ministers said that they are working together to face the challenge and to ensure transition to a “cleaner and more resilient future for the next generation and those to come. We all agreed that, in the XXIst century, Canada’s prosperity must be built on the principle that the environment and the economy go hand in hand,” the ministers said. “For example, clean technology is one of the fastest growing sectors in the world. It is important to reduce emissions while positioning Canada to take advantage of global opportunities to grow, diversify our economies, access markets and create jobs.”

Over two days last week, the ministers had “productive discussions” on issues including economic opportunities, means of reducing emissions, including the importance of technological innovation, public engagement, carbon pricing and adapting to the effects of climate change. These discussions bring us one step closer to the successful development of a pan Canadian framework for combatting climate change,” the ministers concluded.