Home Page Election 2019 News Opinion Foreign Policy Politics Policy Legislation Lobbying Hill Life & People Hill Climbers Heard On The Hill Calendar Archives Classifieds
Hill Times Events Inside Ottawa Directory Hill Times Store Hill Times Careers The Wire Report The Lobby Monitor Parliament Now
Subscribe Free Trial Reuse & Permissions Advertising
Log In
Global

Canada’s climate leadership sets the course toward a more resilient and cleaner economy

By Amin Asadollahi      

But the next steps must be the development of a well thought out Canada-wide adaptation strategy—a national adaptation plan—guided by an overarching vision and set of objectives that reflects the complex implications of climate change.

Canada's Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna. Canada needs to mainstream climate change adaptation efforts into planning processes across all government departments, sectors, and levels of government, writes Amin Asadollahi The Hill Times photograph by Sam Garcia
Share a story
The story link will be added automatically.

It has been a year since almost 200 countries recognized “the need for an effective and progressive response to the urgent threat of climate change” and adopted the Paris Agreement. By doing so, the international community committed to keeping an average global temperature increase to no more than 2℃ and an ambition of staying below 1.5℃.

Despite a consensus on the urgency to correct our course, we are still on the wrong emissions path. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change notes that keeping global carbon dioxide concentration to 450 parts per million (ppm) would give the planet about a 66 per cent chance of limiting emissions growth to 2℃. We have already passed 400 ppm—levels last experienced 4 million years ago—and are rapidly speeding towards 450ppm.

We must peak and bend global emissions as quickly as possible.

To this end, we were pleased to see the Canadian government, following the first ministers’ meeting last week, putting forward a comprehensive plan to tackling Canada’s growing greenhouse gas emissions, The Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change.

The Framework signals that Canada is taking climate change seriously and is taking a leadership role in the fight against it. It is comprehensive, covers emissions across Canada’s economic sectors, and provides a path forward. It recognizes and builds on provincial and territorial measures, and can create new economic opportunities across the country. It also provides solutions that will have multiple benefits, beyond reducing emissions.

By phasing out coal, we can create conditions for building the cleanest electricity grid in the world—this would mean new jobs, cleaner air, and reducing energy costs in remote communities. The Canadian government is setting a path towards reducing energy waste in buildings and equipment, benefiting the environment, and saving consumers’ money.

Even so, no matter how successful mitigation efforts are, we are already seeing the impact of climate change in Canada. We need to adapt. During his recent visit to Ottawa, U.S. vice president Joe Biden paraphrased the president’s science adviser John Holdren, saying: “We can mitigate. We can adapt or we can suffer.”

The Framework is a significant step forward in increasing Canada’s capacity to adapt to climate change. It commits support to turn scientific knowledge into action, building regional expertise and adaptive capacity. Similarly, it commits to investing in infrastructure that builds resilience and to developing new climate-resilient codes and standards.

But while the Canadian government has begun to engage in planned adaptation, a number of gaps remain.

The gap that needs to be filled most urgently is a detailed government-wide vulnerability assessment of its operations and services. Canada also needs to mainstream climate change adaptation efforts into planning processes across all government departments, sectors, and levels of government. Integrating climate risk considerations into all policy-making and planning is vital to respond to the immense challenge climate change presents.

The federal government has shown strong leadership on mitigation and taken the first steps towards strategic adaptation planning. The next steps must be the development of a well thought out Canada-wide adaptation strategy—a national adaptation plan—guided by an overarching vision and set of objectives that reflects the complex implications of climate change. There is also a great deal of work ahead to ensure emission reduction measures are well-designed and implemented.

The next few years will be critical in getting it right.

Politics This Morning

Get the latest news from The Hill Times

Politics This Morning


Your email has been added. An email has been sent to your address, please click the link inside of it to confirm your subscription.

Deadline looms for low-profile CPC candidates, who say party needs more fresh faces and ideas

The ‘traditional playbooks of smaller government, lower taxes, tough on crime,’ wont work to widen the blue tent, says one candidate. ‘We need to break the ceiling and win the support of more Canadians.’

Canada ‘very far’ from quarantining measures, says Trudeau, as feds announce $1-billion coronavirus fund

News|By Palak Mangat
'We have a responsibility to make sure Canada is ready for all scenarios,' Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters Wednesday, as he announced a $1-billion package aimed at mitigating the spread.

‘Everything we didn’t do with Phoenix’: feds tap SAP for work on long-awaited Phoenix replacement pilot project

News|By Mike Lapointe
PIPSC president Debi Daviau says she ‘cannot complain at all on openness and transparency’ around process, but PSAC president Chris Aylward says he’s ‘very concerned’ about lack of details, consultation with his union.

Transportation Agency, RCMP among agencies with most missed targets in 2018-19, show late-tabled reports

In 2018-19, federal departments and agencies missed 509 performance targets out of the 2,011 targets tracked with a deadline of March 2019.

O’Regan putting nuclear ‘front and centre’ raises eyebrows, industry hopes

The announcement ‘doesn’t reflect what’s in his mandate letter,’ says NDP natural resources critic Richard Cannings, nor did nuclear energy didn’t come up in a briefing he had with the minister.

Cuban-Canadian relationship has remained strong regardless of governing party, says senior Cuban official

Feature|By Neil Moss
'I believe that our relationship for all these years has been guided by state policy,' says Marcelino Medina González.

Bennett defends process for reaching tentative deal with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs

Theresa Tait-Day, president of the Wet’suwet’en Matrilineal Coalition, says women in her community have been sidelined amid the outcry from demonstrators who took to the streets.

Federal officials brief MPs, parliamentary staff on efforts to combat coronavirus

News|By Beatrice Paez

Vet MPs say future of Afghanistan up to Afghan people, as fragile U.S.-Taliban peace deal in balance

News|By Neil Moss
'You're ultimately there to set the conditions to allow the Afghans to sort of handle their own internal security challenges,' Conservative MP Alex Ruff says.
Trending Stories
Your group subscription includes premium access to Politics This Morning briefing.