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Vancouver/Montreal/Toronto — The David Suzuki Foundation welcomes the pan-Canadian climate action plan released at today's First Ministers' meeting, but notes that more will be needed to put us on track to meet the Paris Agreement goals of limiting global warming to 1.5 to 2 C.

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"This is a good start on the way to a cleaner, stronger future for Canada in terms of the economy and the environment," said David Suzuki Foundation science and policy director Ian Bruce. "For the first time, Canada has built the foundation of an effective national climate plan that, if fully implemented, will put the country much closer to reaching its 2030 emissions target. These policies will need to be improved over time."

The federal government has taken an important leadership role by amplifying some of the best provincial climate solutions at a national scale, and adding a few new ones.

The key solutions included in the plan include:

  • An increasing price on carbon pollution that will encourage innovation and deployment of clean energy.
  • A phase-out of coal-fired power.
  • A green-building standard that will improve the energy efficiency of homes and buildings.
  • A clean-fuel standard that will cut emissions from transportation fuels.
  • A $45 billion, 10-year investment commitment to transit, electric vehicles and renewable energy infrastructure.
  • A requirement to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas sector.
  • A review mechanism to hold parties accountable for implementing the plan.

Notably absent from the strategy is a zero-emission vehicle standard similar to California and Quebec's that would increase availability and sales of electric vehicles in Canada, although the plan does include measures to expand electric vehicle charging infrastructure. The Foundation is also concerned that if recently approved pipelines and LNG facilities are built, they could prevent Canada from reaching deeper reductions required to keep global temperature rise within safe levels. These projects would also force other sectors of the Canadian economy to reduce emissions more drastically.

Canada's leaders must now lay out a timetable for implementation and provide a full accounting of how newly approved pipeline and LNG projects fit in with the country's plan to reduce emissions by a minimum of 30 per cent relative to 2005 levels by 2030.
"For a plan to be credible, it must not send mixed signals about national priorities," Bruce said. "Responsible action on climate change means shifting from fossil fuels and diversifying the economy to ensure Canadians have good jobs today and into the future while also protecting the environment. That is what is in the national interest."

As large economies around the world take aggressive action on climate change, demand and markets for fossil fuels will decline. Canada must therefore seize the opportunity to transition to a clean economy to strengthen competitiveness, environmental sustainability and quality of life.

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Media Contacts:

Vancouver

Steve Kux, David Suzuki Foundation: 604-374-4102

Toronto

Gideon Forman, David Suzuki Foundation: 647-703-5957

Montreal

Diego Creimer, David Suzuki Foundation: 514-999-6743

December 9, 2016
http://www.davidsuzuki.org/media/news/2016/12/national-climate-strategy-is-a-positive-step-but-more-is-needed/