Canada's McKenna 'thrilled' with Paris climate agreement

PARIS -- A "thrilled" Catherine McKenna said Saturday that Canadian spirit played a role in the Paris climate agreement.

"It is an incredible day today, to see 195 countries come together and reach consensus on a climate change agreement that is going to make huge changes in terms of how we tackle possibly devastating consequences on climate changes," the federal environment minister told reporters.

See Full Article

"I'm really thrilled Canada was able to play an active part of it."

The agreement asks all countries to restrict their greenhouse gas emissions for the first time and limits temperature rise to two degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels.

In the pact, the countries pledge to limit the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by human activity to the levels that trees, soil and oceans can absorb naturally, beginning at some point between 2050 and 2100.

In practical terms, achieving that goal means the world would have to stop emitting greenhouse gases -- most of which come from the burning of oil, coal and gas for energy -- altogether in the next half-century, scientists said.

McKenna, who had a more prominent role at the conference after being named a facilitator by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, said the deal shows multilateralism works and that countries can come together for a common purpose and for the better of future generations.

"It sets the international framework," she said. 'We need to be ambitious now in Canada too.

"There were divergences of opinion but it's a Canadian spirit that we could do that (reach a deal), bring people together, to find agreement that it's important to have friendship."

Experts and environmentalists tried to inject a practical note into the celebration over the agreement, pointing out Canada still doesn't have a national emissions target.

The document doesn't set a target and Canada hasn't released one either, Conservative environment critic Ed Fast was quick to point out.

He said all "major emitters" should be consulted before the government releases its targets in an effort to avoid "massive taxes" on emissions.

"We're now seeing tens of thousands of jobs being lost in our energy sector," he said. "That will continue, going forward. It's going to take realistic, prudent policies to allow us to meet our climate change commitment, yet ensure that our economy continues to grow."

There has been concern that meeting the temperature reduction targets would prove too jarring a jolt to Alberta's petro-based economy, leading to a substantial loss in investment and jobs.

But Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, who introduced her own greenhouse gas strategy last month, said she is confident the province can contribute and thrive under the targets. She said she is focusing on executing Alberta's plan and meshing it with the national framework.

"I think ultimately within the overarching federal context, our plan will be good news for Alberta and will be able to make an appropriate contribution," Notley said in Edmonton on Saturday.

The CEO of GLOBE Series, an organization that runs corporate sustainability conferences, said the Paris agreement actually opens doors for economic growth in Canada.

"We've been highly exposed to job loss because of Alberta, and the fact that our economy in Canada relies quite heavily on oil and gas revenues," Nancy Wright said in referring to the recent drop in oil prices. "By developing our clean technology sector in Canada, it helps buffer things like that."

However, Fast noted the fact remains that Canadians can't know what's coming until the federal government comes out with its plan.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau previously said his government will meet with the provinces and territories to develop emissions plans once the climate talks in Paris concluded.

Erin Flanagan, federal policy director of the environment think tank Pembina Institute, agreed that Trudeau should have a federal plan to fight climate change.

"On their own, provincial commitments will not ensure Canada does its fair share to reduce emissions," she said in a news release.

And the New Democrats said the government should "enshrine" its emissions targets in a climate accountability law, to keep the government accountable.

NDP leader Tom Mulcair tweeted his support of the pact shortly after its release.

"Excited that the world has reached a climate change pact. Canada must now move from words to action," he wrote.

With files from Nicole Thompson in Toronto



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Netanyahu makes history as Israel's longest-serving leader

    World News CTV News
    JERUSALEM -- As Benjamin Netanyahu becomes Israel's longest-serving prime minister, he is solidifying his place as the country's greatest political survivor and the most dominant force in Israeli politics in his generation. He has persevered through scandals, crises and conflicts, winning election after election even as the country grows more bitterly polarized. Source
  • Judge restricts social media use of Trump friend Roger Stone

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- No more Instagram for Roger Stone. Facebook and Twitter are out, too. A federal judge barred Stone from posting on social media Tuesday after concluding that the longtime confidant of U.S. President Donald Trump, who is charged with lying in the Russia investigation, repeatedly flouted her gag order. Source
  • Mexican drug lord 'El Chapo' faces sentencing in U.S. case

    World News CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Will the notorious Mexican drug lord known as "El Chapo" go quietly? For Joaquin Guzman, that's the biggest question at his sentencing in New York City on Wednesday. The highly-anticipated hearing could be his last chance to speak publicly before spending the rest of his life behind bars at a maximum security U.S. Source
  • Man arrested in slaying of 75-year-old African American museum founder

    World News CTV News
    The suspect in the slaying of a community leader who founded Baton Rouge's African American history museum was a tenant who owed her back rent, authorities said Tuesday. Ronn Jermaine Bell, 38, was arrested Tuesday on a charge of first-degree murder, city Police Chief Murphy J. Source
  • Von der Leyen confirmed as new European Commission president

    World News CTV News
    BRUSSELS - Ursula von der Leyen was confirmed as the European Commission president Tuesday, becoming the first woman to hold one of the most prestigious positions in the European Union and who will be one of the most prominent faces from the bloc on the world stage. Source
  • Nomination process for federal election candidates 'uncompetitive' and 'biased': report

    Canada News CBC News
    Just a small portion of federal candidates go through competitive nomination contests, according to a new report from the Samara Centre for Democracy which describes the nomination process as "a weak point in our democratic infrastructure." Wednesday's report — entitled 'Party Favours: How federal election candidates are chosen' — looked at the more than 6,600 candidates who ran to represent one of Canada's five major political parties during the last five federal elections. Source
  • Rescuers look for survivors after building collapse in India

    World News CTV News
    MUMBAI, India -- Rescuers cleared debris and used sniffer dogs Wednesday to find possible survivors under the rubble of a dilapidated building that collapsed in India's financial capital of Mumbai. At least 12 people were killed, and several are still feared trapped. Source
  • Northern Ontario First Nation declares state of emergency over water quality

    Canada News CTV News
    An escalation of long-standing issues with its water supply pushed a First Nation in northern Ontario to declare a state of emergency, its chief said Tuesday as he called for help dealing with the problem. Source
  • Two women allege inappropriate messages from Manitoba grand chief

    Canada News CTV News
    Two women have come forward with allegations of inappropriate text messages involving the province’s grand chief, while the First Nations leader denies any wrongdoing. Bethany Maytwayashing said she first met Manitoba Grand Chief Arlen Dumas while working at a Winnipeg restaurant in 2018 and saw him again in May 2019. Source
  • Hong Kong protests expand to oppose China, with no end near

    World News CTV News
    HONG KONG -- Colin Wong has come to know the sting of pepper spray well. After more than a month of demonstrations in Hong Kong's sweltering heat, memories of the burning sensation are a constant reminder of what protesters call an excessive use of force by police. Source