World Looks to Canada for Exceptional Leadership

CAN-Rac Canada’s Executive Director Catherine Abreu issued the following statement as UN climate negotiations came to a close in Marrakech

MARRAKECH, Morocco (November 18, 2016) – “The spirit of togetherness that made the Paris Agreement possible was alive this week in Marrakech, and it will become more important than ever in the coming months. It was encouraging to see so many countries make commitments that confirmed the global momentum to confront climate change, implement the Paris Agreement, and set a long-term course to hold global warming to 1.5°C.

“What wasn’t as evident at COP22 was a common understanding of the urgent need to support developing countries at the necessary levels. Realizing the Paris Agreement’s goals and protecting the world’s most vulnerable communities require an end to the petty disagreements on finance that so often stall progress.

“Canada has an opportunity to play a constructive role on this and many other issues. It was palpable in Marrakech that the world is now looking to Canada with renewed focus to show exceptional leadership on climate change and the drive to decarbonize the global economy.

“Canada played a solid, steady role at COP22. Canada should be proud of its work to maximize the impact of the 2018 Facilitative Dialogue, a critically important moment when countries will have a chance to assess their progress and amp up their commitments to rapid greenhouse gas reductions. Canada also made a winning case for more gender-inclusive climate policies, led the charge for an upcoming workshop to discuss economic diversification and jobs, and was one of the first countries to get the ball rolling on its long-term climate strategy.

“Yet Canada defaulted to middle-of-the-road positions on a variety issues, including climate and adaptation financing. And the time for middle-of-the-road positioning is over. Canada has a history of punching above its weight, especially in the international arena. To revive this history, we must lock-in climate ambition at home and up our game internationally, particularly on climate finance.

“We know the federal government is working hard to deliver a Pan-Canadian Climate Framework that will ensure we meet our 2030 climate target, and we appreciate that. But we need to both meet and exceed our current insufficient goal, and even the most ambitious Framework will never get us where we need to go if Canada continues to approve new fossil fuel infrastructure.

“We’re past the point where we can trade off a new pipeline against an ambitious building efficiency standard. Climate change is now a zero-sum game, and there are no more trade-offs. Decarbonization has to happen everywhere, all the time, all at once.

“We expect excellence, our international partners expect excellence, and we know Canada can deliver excellence. Canada must be the best it can be on climate change, especially when the world is turning to us for leadership. Canada has the opportunity to be a true international leader, and CAN-Rac is keen to see our country realize that possibility.”