Canada’s First Ministers Issue Declaration on Clean Energy, Climate Change

Canada’s First Ministers last week released a declaration on clean growth and climate change they say will move the country toward a pan-Canadian framework that would meet or exceed Canada’s international emissions targets.

“We know that a fair transition to a sustainable, low-carbon economy is necessary for our collective prosperity, competitiveness, health, and security,” the First Ministers said in a joint communication. “Taking smart and effective action today is essential for future generations. These decisions will put Canada at the forefront of the global clean growth economy, and will create opportunities to diversify our economies, open up access to new markets, reduce emissions, and generate good paying, long-term jobs for Canadians.”

Canada last year set a goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.

To support Canada’s goals of supporting climate change mitigation and promoting use of renewable energy, the First Ministers directed immediate work in four areas — clean technology, innovation, and jobs; carbon pricing mechanisms adapted to each province’s and territory’s specific circumstances and in particular the realities of Canada’s Indigenous peoples and Arctic and sub-Arctic regions; specific mitigation opportunities; and, adaptation and climate resilience.

Four working groups will be established to report on these priorities. Their reports will be submitted to the ministerial tables charged with overseeing their work and will be made public. Ministers will review those reports and provide their recommendations to First Ministers by October. Those recommendations and the reports of the working groups will be used to develop the pan-Canadian framework for clean growth and climate change, a concrete plan that will also allow us to meet our international commitments.

The Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) welcomed the First Ministers’ agreement, saying it looks forward to opportunities to provide the working group with information on the role wind energy can play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in both the electricity sector and the broader economy and the corresponding economic and environmental benefits for Canadians that will result from such action.

“Increased deployment of wind energy is a critical component of any climate change strategy, and we are confident that the commitments made by First Ministers will encourage the transition to zero-carbon electricity generation,” CanWEA President Robert Hornung said in a statement. “Wind energy will not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation, it also can work with other renewable energy sources to create the low emission grid required to reduce fossil fuel use in other sectors like transportation, heating and cooling of buildings, and industrial processes through enhanced electrification in the broader economy.”

Lead image credit: Office of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

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