On fifth anniversary of the Paris Climate Agreement, Green Party says Canada still a long way from meeting its most basic obligations

OTTAWA  – When 195 countries signed the Paris Agreement on December 12, 2015, it marked a turning point in the global community’s commitment to tackle climate change. By signing this landmark agreement, each country pledged to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs), with the goal of keeping the global average temperature increase above pre-industrial levels well below 2 degrees C with the ultimate target to not breach 1.5 C.

“There was such optimism with the signing of the Paris Agreement,” said Green Party Leader Annamie Paul.  “And yet five years on, I’m sorry to say that Canada has failed to meet its most basic obligations. The Government of Canada committed in Paris that we would increase our 2030 target this year, in 2020. We committed to submitting our first emissions target – known as a nationally determined contribution (NDC)  – on February 9, 2020. The deadline has come and gone, with no submission from us. This is not only irresponsible, it is shameful and dangerous. 

“Canada used to be a climate leader, but the cognitive dissonance of declaring a climate emergency one day, then approving a pipeline that will move 600,000 barrels of oil per day the next, as the Liberals did in June 2019, is beyond disconcerting. We know that Candians are concerned about the climate emergency. Many have already been affected by wildfires, drought and floods. The evidence is incontrovertible. We know what has to be done, all that is lacking is political leadership.”

Green parliamentary leader and caucus critic for environment and climate change Elizabeth May (MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands), said: "The Paris Agreement did not save us. It merely gives us an opportunity to save ourselves. Canada's record is one of self-congratulation in equal measure with procrastination.  We long ago abandoned any pretense of leadership. With the window closing on holding to 1.5 degrees (the Paris target) and our best hope of preserving human civilization, now is the time for a major increase in effort, canceling pipelines and planning for the inevitable shutting of fossil fuels.  Our best hope for our future lies in renewable energy, a fully national electricity grid, energy efficiency, and a post-carbon world."

A new United Nations report warns that countries must: decrease production of fossil fuels by six per cent per year over the next 10 years, to avert “catastrophic” global warming, The Green Party’s economic recovery plan calls for a 60 per cent reduction in emissions from 2005 levels by 2030 with clear enforceable targets and timelines, starting in 2025.

“And so, on this five year anniversary of the signing of the Paris Agreement, I urge the Trudeau administration to be bold, to step up and do what needs to be done. Inaction is not an option, the train is leaving the station and there is no reason we should not be aboard.”

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