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


Latest Canada & World News

  • EU criticizes Turkey's offensive in northern Syrian town

    World News CTV News
    BEIRUT - The European Union's top diplomat criticized Turkey on Monday over its military offensive in a northern Syrian town, calling on Ankara to ensure that fighting eases in the conflict-torn country. The appeal came as looting was widely reported in the town captured a day earlier by Turkish troops and allied Syrian fighters, according to residents and monitors. Source
  • Syria's Assad ventures into eastern Ghouta, says area is on 'right path' after army offensive

    World News CBC News
    President Bashar al-Assad flaunted government advances in Syria's seven-year war by filming himself driving to meet frontline soldiers near Damascus, making a video of the journey from the city centre into areas recently recaptured. "The road is open . Source
  • What to expect from Russia during Putin's next 6 years in power

    World News CBC News
    Vladimir Putin now has a stronger hold on Russia — and stronger place in the world — thanks to an overwhelming mandate for yet another term as president. His domestic opponents are largely resigned to another six years in the shadows. Source
  • Ontario government to spell out priorities today in throne speech

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO - Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne says today's throne speech is the only way her Liberal government can spell out its priorities ahead of the upcoming provincial election. Wynne prorogued the legislature last week to set the table for today's speech and has denied it's an attempt to wipe the slate clean before the vote on June 7. Source
  • Federal committee to examine human trafficking at cross-country hearings

    Canada News CTV News
    HALIFAX - A federal committee is in Halifax today to hear stories from survivors of human trafficking and people who provide support to victims of what some call a form of modern slavery. It is the first cross-country stop for the 12 members of the Commons committee, who also plan on holding hearings in Montreal, Toronto, Edmonton and Vancouver. Source
  • Canadian at centre of Facebook data scandal cut political teeth with Liberals

    Canada News CBC News
    The Canadian whistleblower at the centre of an international scandal that allegedly helped the Trump campaign capitalize politically from private Facebook information got his start in politics with the Liberal Party of Canada. But several senior Liberal officials from that time, about a decade ago, insist they have almost no recollection of then-teenager Christopher Wylie — if any at all. Source
  • Police divers to search Rivière-des-Prairies for missing Montreal boy

    Canada News CBC News
    Montreal police divers will plunge into Rivière-des-Prairies this morning as the search for missing 10-year-old Ariel Jeffrey Kouakou continues. At 8 a.m. ET, divers are expected to jump in the water and search the limit of des Bateliers Park in Ahuntsic-Cartierville, in Montreal's north end. Source
  • Police divers search Rivière-des-Prairies for missing Montreal boy

    Canada News CBC News
    Montreal police divers will plunge into Rivière-des-Prairies this morning as the search for missing 10-year-old Ariel Jeffrey Kouakou continues. At 8 a.m. ET, divers are expected to jump in the water and search the limit of des Bateliers Park in Ahuntsic-Cartierville, in Montreal's north end. Source
  • Trump's tweets revive speculation he's gearing up to fire Mueller

    World News CBC News
    U.S. President Donald Trump is not considering firing the special counsel investigating Russian election interference, a top White House lawyer said, after a cascade of Trump tweets revived chatter that the deeply frustrated president may be preparing to get rid of the veteran prosecutor. Source
  • Girl dies after being shot by brother in video game dispute: police

    World News CTV News
    ABERDEEN, Miss. -- A Mississippi girl has died after her brother allegedly shot her in the head because she wouldn't hand over the controller of a video game. WCBI-TV reported Sunday that Monroe County Sheriff Cecil Cantrell says the girl is dead. Source