Speech for the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, at Americana 2023
March 20, 2023 – Montréal, Quebec
Thank you for that introduction.
Good morning everyone.
Before we begin, I want to acknowledge that we are gathering today on the traditional lands of theKanien’kehá:ka Nation, part of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy.
It’s great to be here with all of you. I think each of us is proof of our collective commitment to Canada’s innovative, clean, and prosperous future.
We are at a unique moment in history where the markets, the will of the people, and the good of the environment are all converging to create a new 21st-century reality—that climate action must be the foundation of the economy and the development of our societies.
Investors are voting with their wallets, choosing companies leading in clean energy technology.
Critical minerals, battery technologies, hydrogen, and solar power—these are the high performers.
A recent poll shows that 75 percent of Canadians agree that climate change is a threat that requires urgent action.
And more than half are concerned about the impact of climate change on the economy.
We are on the cusp of an economic boom, driven by environmental necessity and the many opportunities that will come in this century of clean energy and net-zero innovation.
And the Government of Canada is laying the groundwork, in collaboration with businesses across the country, to achieve a more prosperous and more sustainable Canada.
Our goal of net zero by 2050 is the foundation for the future we are building, and it’s a target that’s gaining momentum all over the world.
Over the years, we’ve taken significant action toward this goal: the first-ever pan‑Canadian climate plan, the implementation of federal carbon pricing, and tabling net-zero legislation.
The Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act provides transparency and accountability in Canada’s efforts to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050, supported by public participation and expert advice.
The Act enshrines in legislation Canada’s commitment to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
One requirement of the Act was to produce the 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan.
In March of last year, we launched a sector‑by‑sector roadmap to cut emissions by 40 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 and put us on track to net zero by 2050.
It lays out how the Government of Canada will support industry sectors, communities, and individuals to reach our goal, together, leaving no one behind.
The Act also established the Net-Zero Advisory Body. This body of independent and credible experts is a critical component of our net-zero strategy.
They help support and push along the Government of Canada to make informed decisions on the best ways to cut pollution.
Earlier today, the President and CEO of PRIMA Quebec, Marie‑Pierre Ippersiel, announced 16 new research projects for a total investment of close to $10 million.
These projects include just over $3 million in investments to fund researchers in Quebec at Polytechnique Montréal, Electric Mobility Canada, Québec Net Positif, and the Institut du Québec.
From evaluating the risks and opportunities linked to strategic metal extraction and biomass, to finding how best to help small and medium enterprises understand their role in a net-zero Canada, each of these studies will fill knowledge gaps and enable the Net-Zero Advisory Body to pursue its critical mission.
As a government, we want to support innovation and provide clear, long-term signals as a framework for investment decisions that align with Canada’s climate objectives.
What we do now can help shape long-term financial sector decisions that will last generations.
Make no mistake, this is a competitive race.
Canada is just one of 120 countries that have responded to the United Nations call to commit to net-zero emissions.
This country mirrors the efforts of all other G7 nations.
Hundreds of cities around the world have also made their own net-zero commitments, including Vancouver, Hamilton, Toronto, and Halifax.
The Government of Canada has earmarked $120 billion for climate action, and we are already taking ambitious action.
But we know we must not slow down. We must continue to push the momentum forward.
Canada is well-positioned for a clean economy.
We have the people, skills, resources, and innovative spirit to be a global leader in this net-zero 21st century.
That’s right, responding to the climate emergency means building the economy of the 21st century.
But along with the technological innovations, the development of clean energies, and the transition of our production lines as well as our modes of transportation, we also have to take a hard look at and transform our consumption.
Bearing in mind the slogan of youth that “we have no planet B” and the findings of the IPCC, it’s clear that we have no choice but to imagine an economy with finite resources.
Encouraging energy efficiency; reducing waste production, particularly plastics; boosting recycling, reuse, and the circular economy—those are the priorities that we must all focus on and I’m pleased to be here today to discuss them with you.
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