Canada's National Statement - United Nations Climate Summit - New York City

Canada's National Statement at the United Nations Secretary-General's Climate Summit delivered by the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Canada's Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council.

NEW YORK CITY, Sept. 23, 2014 /CNW/ -

Good afternoon. Thank you all for being here today.

It is an honour to be here today to represent Canada at this important Climate Summit.

I would like to express Canada's sincere appreciation to the Secretary General for hosting the Summit.

As we get closer to COP 21 in Paris, these meetings become more important. By bringing together so many leaders the hope is that all major emitters and economies will step up and commit to do their share. Let me be clear, Canada is fully committed to achieving a strong and effective global climate agreement in Paris next year.

Both domestically and internationally we are demonstrating this commitment.

We are not waiting to act. We are taking decisive action to ensure Canada remains a leader and contributes its part to this global cause.

On the international stage, Canada continues to work with our international partners to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and to address climate change globally.

That is why Canada is a founding partner, major financial contributor, and active participant in the Climate and Clean Air Coalition to marshal global efforts to tackle short-lived climate pollutants.

This work is especially important to Canada as short-lived climate pollutants profoundly impact the North. Scientists tell us that strong global action to reduce short-lived climate pollutants can avoid up to two-thirds of projected warming in the Arctic between now and 2050.

Canada is proud to be a part of this initiative and its success has so far been phenomenal.  Over the past two years, the Coalition has witnessed tremendous growth and currently brings together nearly 100 partners from governments, international organizations, industry, and non-government organizations. This signals that more than ever, people have decided that now is the time for everyone to do their part.  

Canada is also advancing work to address short lived climate pollutants like black carbon under its Chairmanship of the Arctic Council

Canada's support of the international effort includes providing support to other nations. We are extremely proud to have committed, and delivered upon, $1.2 BILLION in Fast Start Financing money to help other countries adapt to and mitigate climate change. The projects funded with this money range from clean energy, green infrastructure, to helping prevent deforestation.

In addition, Canada is proud to work with its North American partners on climate change. 

Earlier this summer, as chair of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, I had the privilege of hosting my American and Mexican counterparts in Canada's North, where we agreed to focus on three priority areas for the organization's next Strategic Plan: climate change, green growth, and sustainable communities and ecosystems.

Domestically, Canada is taking a number of actions through a strategic and pragmatic sector-by-sector regulatory approach.

A key focus of our action at home is the transportation sector, which generates nearly one-quarter of Canada's greenhouse gas emissions and is a major source of air pollutants that can affect our air quality and lead to health issues such as respiratory illness.

Canada has already taken significant action to regulate emissions from our transportation sector. Building on this action, on Monday, I announced Canada will take additional regulatory actions to reduce emissions from our transportation sector.

As a result, we predict that over the lifetime operation of 2017 to 2025 model year automobiles and light trucks, we will see total GHG reductions of 174 megatonnes. This is roughly equivalent to one year of GHG emissions from Canada's entire transportation sector.

I also announced that Canada will be enhancing its action on heavy-duty vehicles. This will build on our current regulations for this sector which will see GHG emissions from 2018 model-year heavy-duty vehicles reduced by up to 23 per cent.

Canada has also taken action in the electricity sector by implementing stringent new coal-fired electricity standards. In the first 21 years, Canada's coal regulations are expected to result in a cumulative reduction in GHGs equivalent to removing roughly 2.6 million personal vehicles per year from the road. As a result of our action, Canada became the first major coal user to ban the construction of traditional coal-fired electricity generation units.

This further cement Canada's place as a global clean energy leader as we have one of the cleanest energy mixes in the world, with more than three-quarters of our electricity supply emitting no greenhouse gases.

Building on our domestic successes, today, I am pleased to announce that Canada will take further action to reduce hydroflurocarbons, or HFCs. HFCs are the fastest growing GHG in the world, increasing at a rate of 10 to 15 per cent (10-15%) per year. These are particularly potent and damaging greenhouse gases and Canada is proud to take this decisive action.

In closing, our approach is working. Canada's per capita emissions are now at their lowest level since we started recording in 1990. Canada's economy has grown substantially while our greenhouse gas emissions have decreased. Simply put, Canada has demonstrated that you can protect the environment while supporting a strong and robust economy.

As we get closer to 2015, I am confident we can achieve a final agreement, but it will require courage and common sense. And it is crucial any new agreement contain commitments from all major economies and major emitters.

Canada will continue striving towards achieving this goal as we take action at home and abroad.

Thank you.

To view the news release related to this statement, please visit the Web site of Environment Canada.

SOURCE: Environment Canada

For further information:

Ted Laking
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of the Environment

Media Relations
Environment Canada
Environment Canada's Twitter page

Environment Canada's Facebook page


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