VANCOUVER —The 22nd United Nations climate conference starts today. It's been nearly a year since more than 195 countries signed the first global agreement to limit climate change to safe levels. But the important work of deciding how the Paris Agreement will be implemented lies ahead. As a country that led in the agreement's development, Canada is obligated to show strong leadership in addressing climate change.
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"Canadians want a comprehensive national plan to drive down emissions," said David Suzuki Foundation director of science and policy Ian Bruce. "COP22 is an opportunity for leaders nationwide to take clear, co-ordinated action to meet and exceed our emissions reductions targets."
In the wake of announcing a federal price on carbon emissions to come into effect in 2018 and ahead of a first minister's meeting in December, Canada needs to show it's willing to do what it takes to drive down carbon emissions. This is especially true following the approval of an LNG plant for the B.C. coast that will be one of the country's largest sources of emissions.
"The federal government needs to show how it plans to reduce emissions in the context of approving new fossil fuel projects or it needs to put a stop to them," Bruce added. "It can't take steps to address climate change and approve projects that actively work against that goal at the same time."
A comprehensive approach to climate change should build on the recently announced price on carbon emissions and renewed investment in public transit and green infrastructure. The next steps for Canada are to phase out coal-fired electricity, end fossil fuel subsidies — that work in direct opposition to a carbon price — and expand access to low- and zero-emissions vehicles.
"With the Paris Agreement ratification underway, the world has sent a clear message about the importance of acting on climate change," Bruce said. "That action begins at home with a comprehensive plan to meet the goals we've set and live up to our international obligations."
David Suzuki Foundation — Steve Kux 604-374-4102