Paris, France – At last a historic international agreement on climate change has been finalized. Now it’s up to citizens and their governments to ensure a safe future, free from catastrophic climate impacts. And that means Canada has work to turn its strong words in Paris into actions at home.

The agreement sets essential goals for protecting our climate, such as striving to limit warming to 1.5 degrees, so that globally carbon pollution peaks (and then descends) as soon as possible.

While we are pleased an agreement has been reached, our work is far from over. There is a gap between the laudable goals in the Paris agreement and the actions needed to attain them.

Current pledges made by countries to reduce emissions are too weak to stay below the safe 1.5 degree warming limit. We are in great danger of being locked into dangerous climate change, as the Paris agreement has no requirement for these commitments to be reviewed or strengthened in the near future.

Over the next year, Canada must strengthen its own emission reduction commitment and work with other countries to create a plan to ensure governments will review and update their commitments to reduce carbon pollution and provide climate financing.

The financing package in the agreement remains inadequate in ensuring developing countries have the ability to adapt to the worst impacts of climate change, while following a cleaner path to development. Canada must work with other industrialized countries to ensure that at least $100 billion in climate assistance is delivered to poor, vulnerable countries by 2020, every year, with mechanisms to increase that annual commitment.

With the adoption of a final Paris climate change agreement, it is now up to citizens in Canada and around the world to mobilize, to demand faster and greater action on climate change.

The Canadian government needs to show that it is serious about tackling climate change at home by acting on its promises in the recent election and its commitment here in Paris to strive to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.

That means developing a new federal climate framework in the next 90 days which establishes more ambitious measures than have been attempted by previous governments. Success requires an all-government approach to cut emissions reductions quickly, with a goal of decarbonising our economy by 2050.

Some of these measure should include:

  • Ensuring a high price on carbon emissions for all of Canada
  • Creating a new, strong, credible process to review all high-carbon energy projects, including a climate test
  • Establishing regulations to reduce carbon pollution from industry
  • Investing heavily in clean public transit, clean energy, and more efficient buildings
  • Developing national strategies to accelerate the shift to electric vehicles, enable energy efficiency, and attract clean energy investment

Our world is already transforming, with investments in clean power surpassing those in dirty fossil fuels, with the acceleration of the development and use of clean energy technologies, and with millions around the world mobilizing to say no to more dirty energy and yes to safe, prosperous communities, resilient ecosystems and a stable climate.

About ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE (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.

-30-

For more information or to arrange an interview please contact:

Naomi Carniol, Environmental Defence, +1 416-570-2878 (cell); ncarniol@environmentaldefence.ca