Statement from Tim Gray of Environmental Defence on the climate accord reached between China and the Unites States
Toronto, ON – The U.S.-China agreement is a major step forward for global action on climate change and a potential game-changer in the international negotiations. The U.S. has agreed to accelerate its emission reductions and China, for the first time, has agreed on an absolute cap on its carbon emissions.
If Canada had few excuses for inaction on the climate crisis before, it’s clear we have no excuse now. The Canadian government has long used the lack of commitment from the U.S and China on climate action to deflect criticism from its own failure to cut carbon pollution.
As a global top-10 carbon polluter, Canada needs to heed this leadership and take action to reach its 2020 carbon pollution targets and take on ambitious targets for 2025. Canada is already being left behind, missing out on the real economic opportunities created by transitioning away from fossil fuel dependency.
Well before the climate summit in Paris a year from now, the U.S., China, Canada, and other countries need to establish targets and plans to meet them that are both fair and sufficient to avoid dangerous levels of climate change. These pledges by the world’s largest carbon polluters need to be flexible, allowing for more ambitious commitments in line with global leaders.
China’s commitment to have 20 per cent of its energy needs met with clean, renewable energy is also hugely significant. Together, its two pledges mean that China is turning its back on coal and embracing the clean energy revolution.
Canada should stop making excuses and take serious steps to cut its own emissions immediately. The Canadian government should quit its single-minded focus on the tar sands – the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada –   and instead look to the significant economic advantages of clean energy.
About ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE (www.environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence is Canada’s most effective environmental action organization. We challenge, and inspire change in government, business and people to ensure a greener, healthier and prosperous life for all.
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For more information or media requests, please contact:
Naomi Carniol, Environmental Defence, 416-323-9521 ext 258; 416-570-2878 (cell) ncarniol@environmentaldefence.ca