As Minister of Environment and Climate Change, I am pleased to submit Canada's Fourth Biennial Report to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Our children and grandchildren will judge this generation by its action – or inaction – on the defining challenge of our time: climate change. From forest fires and floods, to ocean pollution and coastal erosion, Canadians are living the impact of climate change every day.
Since the adoption of Canada’s national climate plan – the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change – in 2016, the calls for urgent climate action have continued to grow. Our country’s science-based report, Canada’s Changing Climate published in April 2019, indicates that warming in Canada is occurring at twice the global average speed. Canada’s north is actually warming at three times that rate.
The scientific community, civil society, youth representatives, Indigenous peoples, industry and others continue to stress the urgency of climate change. This is why Canada is working to develop policies according to what is needed to avoid the worst impacts.
Federal, provincial and territorial actions taken in the last few years have slowed emissions growth, and we are now projecting a significant decline for the first time in Canada’s history. While it is still feasible to avoid a 1.5°C rise in temperature, changes – including how we produce and transport goods, and how we generate and use energy – will be needed. We recognize the challenges in addressing climate change and the urgent need for action at all levels. At the same time, we recognize that there is now an opportunity to stimulate innovation and take a leadership position in the low-carbon economy.
We know we need to do more. That is why the federal government has committed to exceeding current 2030 targets and developing a plan to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. Canada will continue to take concrete action to protect the environment, and will do so in a way that grows the economy and makes life more affordable. We will make significant investments in public transit; use nature-based solutions, including planting two billion new trees, to clean the air and make our communities greener; and, we will work to advance legislation to support the future and livelihood of workers and their communities in the transition to a low-carbon global economy.
The Government will also act to preserve Canada’s natural legacy, protecting 25% of Canada’s land and 25% of Canada’s oceans by 2025, and will continue efforts to reduce plastic pollution.
I look forward to continue working with my domestic and international colleagues to make this future a reality.
Minister of Environment and Climate Change
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