Federal budget reaction: Progress on climate; Long way to go on nature

Renewable-energy deployment fund a big win for Arctic communities 

TORONTO, March 22, 2017 /CNW/ - In response to the federal budget released today, WWF-Canada president and CEO David Miller issued the following statement:

"Building on the progress of last year's budget in prioritizing climate change and marine protected areas, Budget 2017 includes a variety of tools that will make meaningful climate action possible. The emphasis on clean energy and technology is encouraging, particularly if that shift is done in a habitat-friendly way. For Arctic communities, the announcement of $400 million to support the deployment of renewable energy is a major step forward in the transition away from diesel power generation.

"WWF-Canada has repeatedly made the case for such a fund to make meaningful progress on the transition to a low-carbon energy source, including at the Arctic Renewable Energy Summit in Iqaluit last fall. The federal government listened.

"For Arctic communities, this will prove to be a key development in reducing reliance on diesel from the south, and in increasing their independence. Habitat-friendly renewable energy will lead to millions in savings in electricity costs in the North, and will benefit the Arctic environment. This is a big win for the North. And if it can be done in the Arctic, it can be done throughout Canada. Reaching 100 per cent renewable energy by 2050 is a realistic goal.

"Though we're happy about these developments, and for funds to protect the Great Lakes and manage the threat of invasive species across Canada, we are still waiting for more meaningful actions to address the degradation of nature. Canada has yet to make the urgently needed shift to an economy that is sustainably managed and values nature.

"We had hoped this budget would address the need for:

  • Protecting species at risk;
  • Monitoring freshwater, our most precious resource;
  • Nature-based infrastructure solutions for climate-change mitigation and adaptation;
  • Conservation science to protect the ecological integrity of our national parks;
  • A comprehensive plan to achieve our international Aichi terrestrial protected area target of 17 per cent;
  • Science-based regional planning for resilient ecosystems that deliver vital ecological goods and services to wildlife and people."

About World Wildlife Fund Canada
WWF-Canada creates solutions to the environmental challenges that matter most for Canadians. We work in places that are unique and ecologically important, so that nature, wildlife and people thrive together. Because we are all wildlife. For more information, visit wwf.ca.

SOURCE WWF-Canada

For further information: Sarah MacWhirter, senior manager, strategic communications, smacwhirter@wwfcanada.org, +1 416-347-1894

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