PARIS, France, Dec. 12, 2015 /CNW Telbec/ - The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, issued the following statement to mark the conclusion of the Paris Climate Conference:
"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. I am proud of our team of negotiators, who—on behalf of Canadians—worked tirelessly over the past two weeks.
"Already in Canada, we can see and feel the effects of climate change: we have seen floods in Alberta, wildfires across British Columbia, and Prince Edward Island's coastline is receding. The Arctic is experiencing serious climatic changes with melting permafrost, impacting the lives of Indigenous peoples.
"We came to Paris recognizing that climate change is having a significant impact in Canada and around the world, and we were prepared to address this challenge head-on. We have a responsibility for the next generations and were committed to build a lasting international solution to fight climate change, and we rose to that challenge.
"This agreement is ambitious and balanced. It was adopted by 195 countries—big and small, rich and poor—who will set targets, report on them in a transparent manner and review and improve them every five years. 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. We need to do this to avoid the harshest impact of climate change on our geography, livelihoods and health.
"The Prime Minister, my colleagues, and I 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.
"We will support our communities and our economy by making significant new investments in green infrastructure and clean technologies. 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.
"I was very encouraged to see so many Canadians here in Paris, and not only those who were part of the Canadian delegation. Premiers from provinces and territories were here, Mayors from across our country, as well as aboriginal leaders, young people, environmental NGOs, labour, businesses, entrepreneurs and investors. Their message was loud and clear: climate change is a priority and we want to help, we want to support our country, we want to offer our creativity and our solutions.
"It has been very inspiring to me to feel this collective will and solidarity. This is the spirit we now need to bring back home so that we can tackle climate change together. I cannot stress enough how important it is that every Canadian take part in this effort. Climate change is the challenge of our generation. Together we can do this."
Backgrounder: Canada at the 21st Conference of the Parties
SOURCE Environment and Climate Change Canada
For further information: Caitlin Workman, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, 819-938-9436; Media Relations, Environment and Climate Change Canada, 819-934-8008