OTTAWA, Oct. 7, 2014 /CNW/ - The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council, today issued the following statement on behalf of the Government of Canada in response to the tabling of the Fall 2014 Report from the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development.
"Our Government continues to take action to protect the environment while supporting economic growth and prosperity.
"The Commissioner recognized the importance of the oil sands in the Canadian economy and highlighted our partnership with the Government of Alberta in providing rigorous scientific analysis of oil sands development. To support the responsible development of the oil sands, the Government, in partnership with Alberta, launched the world-class Joint Implementation Plan for Oil Sands Monitoring. Moving forward, we will continue to work with Alberta, in partnership with aboriginal communities, to enhance this world-class scientific monitoring program.
"The Government of Canada has in place strong mechanisms to undertake rigorous environmental assessments and is committed to engaging First Nations, Métis, and Inuit communities in meaningful consultations on projects. To this end, we continue to strengthen our internal practices and we've increased funding and opportunities for consultations throughout the environmental assessment process.
"The Commissioner has acknowledged that the Government adequately supports safe marine navigation in the Arctic and through Canada's Arctic Council Chairmanship, we will continue to demonstrate leadership in the areas of economic and social well-being, as well as the environmental health of the North. Canada is co-leading, with the United States, a program to enhance the development of international best practices for cruise ships in the Arctic. As well, the Minister of Transport appointed the independent Tanker Safety Expert Panel which is reviewing marine ship-source oil spill prevention, preparedness, and response in the Arctic.
"Our Government is making significant progress on addressing climate change. At the United Nations Climate Summit in New York last month, I announced a series of new regulatory initiatives to make further reductions in greenhouse gases (GHGs).
"These new regulations reduce emissions and increase fuel efficiency for cars and trucks, reduce emissions from heavy-duty vehicles, and will lower the sulphur content in gasoline by nearly 70 per cent. Additionally, I announced our intention to phase down the use of hydrofluorocarbons, the fastest growing GHG on the planet.
"The new regulations for cars and light trucks, which align with the United States, are projected to deliver a total reduction of GHG emissions of 174 megatonnes—which is roughly equivalent to one year of emissions from Canada's entire transportation sector.
"These initiatives build on our already impressive record. We have already regulated two of Canada's largest sources of GHG emissions—the transportation and electricity sectors. As a result, Canada became the first major coal user to ban the construction of traditional coal-fired electricity generation units when we introduced comprehensive regulations on new and existing coal-fired power plants. As a result of these regulations, we expect a cumulative reduction in GHG emissions that amounts to removing 2.6 million vehicles from the road each year over a 21-year period.
"Canada is now a clean energy leader as we boast one of the cleanest electricity systems in the world with 79 per cent of Canada's electricity supply emitting no GHGs.
"Thanks in part to our actions, Canada's 2020 GHG emissions are projected to be about 130 Mt lower relative to a scenario with no action. Furthermore, Canada's per capita GHG emissions are now at their lowest level since tracking began in 1990 all while the economy has grown.
"While taking action to reduce emissions at home, we continue to play an important role in international efforts to address climate change. For example, Canada has made significant investments to help fund projects that support clean energy, green infrastructure, and help prevent deforestation. Canada is also a founding member and major financial contributor for the Climate and Clean Air Coalition which is focused on tackling short-lived climate pollutants.
"Through all of these measures, our Government is demonstrating that we can protect the environment while supporting a strong and robust economy."
To find out more about the Government of Canada's action on climate change, visit:
To find out more about the Government of Canada's National Conservation Plan, visit:
To find out more about Canada's Arctic Council Chairmanship, visit: http://www.international.gc.ca/arctic-arctique/chairmanship-presidence.aspx.
SOURCE: Environment Canada
For further information: Ted Laking, Director of Communications, Office of the Minister of the Environment, 819-997-1441; Media Relations, Environment Canada, 819-934-8008