WARSAW, Poland, Nov. 20, 2013 /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 19th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
"On behalf of all Canadians, I want to offer my heartfelt condolences to the people of the Philippines and all those affected by the typhoon. I would also like to thank Poland for their gracious hospitality.
"It is a privilege to be here in Warsaw representing Canada at these very important negotiations. Throughout the past few days, I have seen the determination and will of nations to come together and take concrete action.
"As an Inuk from Canada's North, I come from a culture whose relationship with the land and water is an important part of our identity and everyday lives. We understand how essential it is to safeguard the quality of our air, water and natural environment. And we know that economic growth and environmental stewardship must go hand-in-hand.
"Canada is taking a leadership role in international climate change efforts by focusing on delivering significant environmental and economic benefits for all Canadians. For example, through its sector by sector regulatory approach, our Government has already taken action on two of its largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions—transportation and electricity.
"This approach has made Canada the first major coal user to ban the construction of traditional coal-fired electricity generation units. In fact, in the first 21 years, these regulations are expected to result in a cumulative reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of about 214 megatons, equivalent to removing some 2.6 million personal vehicles per year from the road.
"Building on this strong record, we are now working with provinces to reduce emissions from the oil and gas sectors while ensuring Canadian companies remain competitive.
"Canada continues to invest in clean technology and drive innovation at home and abroad. Since 2006, the Government of Canada has taken action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build a more sustainable environment through more than $10 billion in investments to support green infrastructure, energy efficiency, clean energy technologies and the production of cleaner energy and fuels. Our Government is also making significant investments in domestic climate change adaptation which will support federal programs that improve our scientific understanding of climate change and help Canadians prepare for climate-related impacts, particularly in Canada's North.
"Our actions domestically are delivering clear results as Canadian greenhouse gas emissions have decreased while our economy has significantly grown for the same timeframe.
"Internationally, Canada's largest ever contribution of $1.2 billion in fast-start financing is having a positive impact in more than 60 countries, notably by supporting climate change adaptation initiatives in the most vulnerable nations, and by successfully leveraging private sector financing for climate change projects throughout the world.
"In Africa—in countries like Burkina Faso, Ethiopia and Ghana—, we are helping farmers to develop climate-smart agricultural practices. In Asia—in countries like Thailand, Cambodia and India—, we are supporting research to better understand the impacts of climate change on water and ecosystems. In Latin America and the Caribbean—in countries like Bolivia, Haiti, and Guatemala—, we are providing a broad range of support to help communities more effectively respond to the impacts of climate change.
"We are also active in a number of international initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and short-lived climate pollutants which complement our essential work under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
"As chair of the Arctic Council, Canada is co-leading, with Sweden, a new task force to reduce pollutants like black carbon and methane. Canada is also co-leading, with the United States, work on adaptation including the development of an online information portal to help decision-makers better manage climate risks.
"As a founding member and a major contributor of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, we are leading initiatives to address short-lived climate pollutants from agriculture, heavy-duty diesel vehicles and engines, and municipal solid waste.
"And together with the United States and Mexico, we are leading international efforts to use the expertise and institutions of the Montreal Protocol to phase down the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons.
"On behalf of the Government of Canada, I want to re-iterate our support to establishing a fair and effective climate change agreement that includes commitments by all major emitters.
"This agreement must support constructive and ambitious global action, balance environmental protection and economic prosperity, and effectively capture the full range of countries' capabilities and responsibilities now and in the future."
SOURCE: Environment Canada
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