Remarks for the Honourable Jim Prentice
COP 14 National Statement
December 11, 2008
Thank you Mr. President.
I am pleased to be here, ladies and gentlemen, distinguished guests, as Canada’s Environment Minister. It was less than six weeks ago that I was appointed as the Minister of the Environment by the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, the Prime Minister of Canada.
I am proud to be joined at this conference by opposition Members of Canada’s Parliament, and by Ministers of the Environment from the Yukon and the provincial governments of Alberta, and Quebec.
I have also had the opportunity since arriving to meet here in Poznan with many young Canadians, including Aboriginal people, who reflect the deep concern of Canadians about climate change. And I see many of them in fact right here with us this afternoon.
Canada, like the rest of the world, worries about the health of our planet, and is already living with the impacts of climate change.
We must bring to these negotiations a sense of urgency and a shared vision for the long-term cooperation that places us on a path to a low carbon future.
And we must ensure that our vision is informed by the best science and also by the traditional knowledge and voices of our aboriginal peoples.
This shared vision must ensure continued economic growth and sustainable development while simultaneously reducing global greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 percent by 2050.
Achieving this balance will require long term cooperative action in many areas, including strengthening adaptation, and increasing global supplies of secure, affordable and clean energy. And in this respect, much as much work is underway in our provinces of Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador we are exploring the development of major new hydroelectric projects and in Canada’s north, we are proceeding with the development of cleaner natural gas basins.
Canadahas the potential to make a significant contribution to meeting these global challenges. For example we have set ambitious goals for meeting our electricity needs from non-emitting sources – 90 percent of our electricity needs – from non-emitting sources. And we are building partnerships to invest heavily in other clean technologies, including next generation biofuels and carbon capture and storage.
Over the last year, the Governments of Alberta, with the assistance of the Government of Canada have committed to invest in excess of $2.2 billion in the development of carbon capture and storage technologies.
Canada is committed to reducing its total greenhouse gas emissions, while ensuring that our actions, going forward, are comparable with those of other developed countries.
We intend, in particular, to forge an immediate relationship with the new American administration to address this issue which straddles our border.
We have committed to working to develop and implement a North American-wide cap and trade system for greenhouse gases.
We believe that effective global measures regarding climate change and the economy can only occur with the commitment and contribution of all major economies.
In the meantime, we must increase our support for the poorest and most vulnerable countries to help them become more resilient to climate change and to adapt to its worst effects.
Canada recently announced 100 million dollars in funding to Africa and small island states to support this objective.
We must also take concrete action to ensure that international financial mechanisms are sufficient to offer these countries the aid that they so greatly need.
Guided by our shared vision of a low carbon future, and working together, I am confident that we can place our world on a new path of sustainability and economic progress.
I salute the leadership of the young Canadians who have accompanied me here today.
Thank you Mr. President.
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