LIMA, Peru, Dec. 9, 2014 /CNW/ - Today, the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council, issued the following national statement at the 20th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change:
"I am honoured to be here in beautiful Lima representing Canada at this important Conference of the Parties.
"As COP 21 in Paris approaches, it is Canada's hope that this week will see progress on establishing a final agreement to address climate change. By bringing together so many leaders, I am certain that we will have productive discussions towards an agreement that would see all major emitters commit to do their fair share.
"Canada is a country that has always done its part. And we will continue to do our part. We remain fully committed to the development of an international climate change agreement that is fair, effective and includes meaningful and transparent commitments from all major emitters.
"We have demonstrated this commitment both domestically and internationally.
"On the international stage, Canada was proud to provide $300 million to the Green Climate Fund to support developing countries as they address climate change.
"This important contribution builds on Canada's previous investment under the Fast-Start Financing Initiative.
"The Government of Canada fully delivered on this commitment by providing $1.2 billion in funding to support a range of projects to help more than 60 developing countries adapt to climate change and increase renewable energy.
"In total, over the last five years, Canada has contributed $1.5 billion in climate financing—again demonstrating our longstanding commitment to support successful international efforts focused on addressing climate change.
"Canada is also working with other countries through complementary international forums.
"As a founding partner and major financial contributor to the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, Canada is leading international efforts to tackle short-lived climate pollutants, such as black carbon, methane and hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs.
"HFCs are the world's most potent and fastest-growing GHGs. If left unchecked, they are projected to increase substantially over the next 10 to 15 years. So, Canada has made it a priority to limit the growth of these GHGs.
"Together with the United States and Mexico, Canada is leading international efforts to use the expertise and institutions of the Montreal Protocol to address HFCs. In November, Parties to the Montreal Protocol considered a proposal put forward by Canada, the United States and Mexico to phase down HFCs.
"In 2015, the Parties will hold an additional meeting where Canada intends once again to encourage countries to engage constructively in discussions on issues related to HFC management.
"Canada firmly believes it is important for countries to take domestic action now on HFCs in advance of a comprehensive, international phase‑down agreement.
"Canada is also using its chairmanship of the Arctic Council to take action on black carbon and methane to address short-lived climate pollutants.
"This work is a priority to Canada as scientists have predicted that action to reduce short-lived climate pollutants can help avoid a significant portion of projected warming in the Arctic over the next four decades.
"For our part, Canada accounts for less than 2 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions and our country has one of the cleanest electricity systems in the world—with nearly 80 per cent of our electricity coming from sources that emit no greenhouse gases.
"Building on our record as a clean energy leader, we are continuing to advance our balanced sector-by-sector regulatory approach to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
"Under this approach, we have already taken decisive action to regulate the transportation and electricity sectors, which are two of the largest sources of emissions in Canada.
"Our actions to reduce emissions from coal—which is the largest source of GHG emissions in the world—have positioned Canada as world leader in this regard.
"In fact, in 2012, we became the first major coal user to ban the construction of traditional coal-fired electricity generation units.
"We are proud to have led in this area and we will certainly see significant long-term emissions reductions.
"In fact, in their first 21 years, Canada's coal regulations are expected to result in a cumulative reduction in GHG emissions equivalent to removing 2.6 million personal vehicles from the road per year over this period.
"Our transportation regulations will also significantly contribute to long-term emissions reductions in Canada.
"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 emissions from Canada's entire transportation sector.
"A particularly important part of Canada's approach to the transportation sector was regulatory alignment with the United States, especially given how integrated the transportation sector is in North America. This approach allowed us to reduce our emissions while protecting the Canadian economy. We similarly support a North American approach to the oil‑and‑gas sector.
"In another area of domestic action, last week I announced Canada was following through on the commitment we made in New York to reduce HFCs.
"As I stated earlier, taking action on HFCs is hugely important. By taking action on HFCs, Canada is now among those countries showing leadership by taking early action on these substances, which could account for up to 19 per cent of global GHG emissions by 2050 if no immediate action is taken.
"Canada hopes that other countries follow our lead on addressing HFC emissions. It won't be easy, but if we take action now we will help prevent a bigger problem down the road.
"Canada stands ready to help its international partners, and we will continue to move forward with measures in a way that reduces greenhouse gas emissions while maintaining economic growth.
"Our record speaks for itself. We have shown that it is possible to protect the environment while supporting economic growth.
"In fact, in 2012, GHG emissions were 5.1 per cent lower than 2005 levels while the economy grew by 10.6 per cent during the same period.
"Further, Canada's per capita emissions have now fallen to their lowest level since we started recording in 1990.
"Thanks to our leadership and the actions of different levels of government, Canadian businesses, and our citizens, Canada's 2020 GHG emissions are projected to be 130 megatonnes lower compared to what they would have been had we taken no action to reduce GHG emissions since 2005.
"Moving forward, Canada is actively preparing its contributions. We are engaging our provincial and territorial governments who hold many levers for taking substantive and innovative action on climate change. They have been an important part of Canada's progress and I expect their actions will be an important part of Canada's contribution under a new international climate agreement.
"We are proud of the work we have accomplished, and I can say with confidence that we will continue to take decisive actions.
"As we approach next year's meeting in Paris, Canada will continue to work with our international partners and be one of the strongest advocates for a final agreement that includes all major emitters.
"I am confident we can achieve a final agreement. However, it will require courage and common sense.
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