Speech Article from  Environment and Climate Change Canada

Canada's national statement at COP22 - Marrakech, Morocco

Speaking Notes for the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

November 16, 2016

Check against delivery. This speech has been translated in accordance with the Government of Canada’s official languages policy and edited for posting and distribution in accordance with its communications policy.

Honorable heads of state and heads of government,

President of COP22, thank you to Morocco for your wonderful hospitality.

Honorable ministers and heads of delegations,

Indigenous peoples’ delegations,

Distinguished delegates,

Ladies and Gentlemen:

It is a privilege to speak to you on behalf of the Government of Canada. Here in Marrakech, our country’s delegation is engaging with the global community to advance the implementation of the Paris Agreement and to continue the momentum of the past year.

I am proud to be here with Canadian provincial, territorial, and municipal leaders; Canadian Indigenous peoples; businesses; civil society; and youth.

There is one delegate I want to introduce you to: Maatalii Okalik is an incredible young leader from the Canadian Arctic and a strong voice for Inuit youth. She is also an incredible young woman. It is very fitting that she is here with me on women’s day at COP22.

Maatalii Okalik:

Qujannamiik ammalu unnukkut. Maatalii Aneraq Okaliujunga.

Warm thanks and good evening. My name is Maatalii Aneraq Okalik, and I am the president of the National Inuit Youth Council within Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, and I am honored to participate at COP, on the Canadian delegation.

Your Excellencies, I commend the work of the parties on the collective effort towards climate action through the Paris Agreement.

Inuit youth in Canada are committed to continuing to exercise our Indigenous right to our culture, language, and way of life as entrenched in the Constitution and international declarations like the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

With your continued leadership that will define our future on climate action, I am hopeful that it is done in cooperation with Indigenous peoples, in platforms, and with respect to our rights, which ultimately support Indigenous self-determination.

Let’s do this together: our collective future depends on it.

Qujannamiik ammalu aakuluuvusi. Thank you.

The Honourable Catherine McKenna:

One year ago, together, the world reached a historic agreement on climate change. And, there is no turning back. The momentum is irreversible. As U.S. Secretary of Energy, Ernest Moniz puts it, “You can’t stop the waves from hitting the beach.” And I would add that it is clear that the world has acceded to ride with the waves. It is clear from our discussions this week that we are globally mobilizing to implement the Paris Agreement.

The Paris Agreement sent a signal to the market: it is a competitive advantage to act now and invest in a cleaner future.

The global economy has shifted towards cleaner, more sustainable growth. The transition to a low-carbon economy is well underway.

Canada is deeply committed to taking action to address climate change. It is the right thing to do for our children and grandchildren. It will also build a clean and inclusive economy that will provide good jobs.

Since COP21, Canada has been active on the international front:

  • We helped negotiate an ambitious amendment to the Montreal Protocol to phasedown hydrofluorocarbons in air-conditioners and refrigerants, which was adopted last month in Kigali. This amendment is extremely significant as it will stop half a degree of global warming.
  • We are co-chairing the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, working to reduce harmful climate pollutants that affect air quality and our health.
  • We are implementing new measures to reduce emissions from aviation and shipping under the International Civil Aviation Organization.
  • And we were proud to ratify the Paris Agreement and to help it reach the threshold to bring it into force.

At home, officials from all levels of Canadian government are working with Indigenous peoples, business leaders, youth and environmental organizations, and all citizens to develop a Canadian framework for clean growth and climate change.

This fall, the Government of Canada took a major step, when we announced our plan for pricing carbon pollution. Under the plan, all Canadian jurisdictions will have a price on carbon pollution in place by 2018.

This plan is a huge opportunity. When you price carbon pollution, you create incentives to reduce pollution through innovation. That is why putting a price on pollution is one of the most effective ways to reduce emissions. Canadian businesses agree, with over thirty of our major companies signing on to putting a price on carbon pollution through the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition.

In 2016, we also announced billions of dollars in investment for clean infrastructure, which will create jobs while addressing both adaptation and mitigation challenges in our communities.

Canada joined Mission Innovation in Paris and committed to double clean-energy research and development investment by 2020. With these investments, pricing carbon pollution, and other smart policies, we are building Canada’s clean growth economy.

And we are renewing our support to developing countries as part of our historic $2.65-billion commitment. I am pleased to announce that Canada will invest nearly $1.8 billion to significantly leverage private-sector investment focused on clean and renewable energy solutions. Our efforts will help reduce investment risks and stimulate private investment in emerging markets.

Canada’s support will help communities deal with the many impacts of climate change—disproportionately affecting women, the poor, and those who rely on agriculture to make a living.

We will also support innovation and jobs and improve our capacity for adaptation and climate resilience.

And this too will bring economic benefits not only to developing countries but also to economies around the world. In fact, the International Finance Corporation estimates that the Paris Agreement will help open up nearly $23 trillion in opportunities for low-carbon investments in emerging markets between now and 2030. From this, we will all realize multiple benefits: fighting climate change, enjoying health benefits, empowering people, creating jobs, just to name a few.

I believe in Canadian ingenuity. And I believe Canadian businesses can compete with the best in the world. I know business is part of the solution both in Canada and globally.

The private sector, along with all levels of government, Indigenous peoples, and, indeed, all Canadians will unite to bring about the transition to a stronger, more sustainable economy, and a better tomorrow for our children and grandchildren.

Working together, we will set ourselves on a sustainable path for the future. If we make the right decisions now, future generations will have the opportunities they deserve:

  • A strong and diverse economy
  • Healthy and dynamic communities
  • And a natural world, more beautiful than ever before

I am confident we will succeed.

I think it’s fitting to end with a quote from our most famous Canadian hockey player, “You don’t skate to where the puck is now, you skate to where it’s going.” And that’s a low carbon future.


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