The Canadian Reputation As Climate Advocates Is A Global Example
Canada is a massive, resourcefully rich country. We have a strong energy sector, a strong trade relationship with the United States (even with the current political issues occurring between President Trump and PM Trudeau), and a strong and growing economy. Canada is internationally recognized under the current Prime Minister’s government as being a global leader in the fight against climate change and much of that is with due credit to the federal minister responsible for the file – Catherine McKenna. The first order of business for the Minister and Prime Minister was changing the public perception of the government as being inactive on the file, so the former Environment Canada was officially changed to Environment and Climate Change Canada in 2015. That same year, Canada’s total greenhouse gas emissions were equivalent to 722 megatonnes of carbon dioxide, according to recent estimates by ECCC. This is a slight decrease from 2005 when annual emissions were 738 megatonnes.
“Canada is unwavering in our commitment to fight climate change.” – Prime Minister Trudeau
Last month, Minister McKenna was in London, Berlin, and Brussels to meet with international partners to ensure continued progress toward global climate commitments in the lead-up to the upcoming international climate talks in Poland, in December. Minister McKenna later co-chaired the second Ministerial Meeting on Climate Action, co-hosted by EU Climate Action and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete and China’s Special Representative Xie Zhenhua, in Brussels. As co-chair, the Minister worked with other ministers to push for the adoption of common and robust implementation guidelines for the Paris Agreement, ahead of the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP24), in Poland, this December.
“Canadians expect our government to take ambitious action to fight climate change at home and abroad. These meetings with other international climate leaders were essential to continue building momentum toward the ambitious global action we need to keep our climate safe and realize the opportunities of the transition to cleaner economic growth. We will continue to work with our national and international partners to ensure we can all meet ourParis commitments to protect our planet for our kids and grandkids.”
– Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
Minister McKenna helped bring about about the national agreement on climate change with emissions reduction targets and has created a low carbon infrastructure fund. She also set the target of Canada protecting five per cent of marine and coastal areas by the end of 2017, which was achieved, and 10% by 2020. She put together a globally recognized panel on climate change adaptation. Last month, her government invested heavily over the next five years in one of Canada’s biggest national park after concerns about its status as a world heritage site. The Wood Buffalo National Park, which covers almost 45,000 square kilometres of grasslands, wetlands and waterways in northern Alberta will receive $27.5 million dollars. One of the government’s biggest achievements is, of course, the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act. The soon to be official law sets a national carbon price regime that will apply in provinces and territories that have not established an equivalent carbon tax or cap-and-trade policy.
Last year, the New York Times asked who will fill the void left by the U.S. Canada might just be the country to do the job.