Minister Kent outlines Canada’s recent environmental achievements

Canadian Environment Minister Peter Kent spoke yesterday toan international business audience at the AMERICANA Environmental Technology Trade Show and Conference in Montreal.

The speech, which may signal that little in the way of new environmental initiatives will be included in tomorrow’s Federal budget, was quite short at just under 1400 words. Key points, quoted directly from the speech, included:

  • Our Government actively supports business efforts to develop innovative and sustainable solutions, advance technologies and promote a green economy. We are doing this through Sustainable Development Technology Canada—a not‑for-profit foundation supported by the Government of Canada.
  • Sustainable Development Technology Canada’s Tech Fund has supported more than 230 projects over the past ten years, worth nearly $600 million—boosted by another $1.4 billion in funding from other partners. In addition, SDTC’s NextGen Biofuels Fund supports large-scale demonstration facilities for tomorrow’s renewable fuels.
  • We have introduced “Responsible Resource Development”—our comprehensive plan to create jobs, growth and long-term prosperity while strengthening our world-class protection of the environment. This will provide companies with the stability, clarity and predictability that will allow them to invest and innovate with confidence.
  • We’re looking at the big picture to determine where we can bring the greatest benefits to the environment, which key sectors contribute the most greenhouse gas emissions, and how we bring about the changes we seek while maintaining the economic growth we need
  • We have taken on a sector-by-sector approach to address the major sources of greenhouse gas emissions—introducing new standards to safeguard our environment, stimulate our economy and spur innovation.
  • We made Canada the first country to ban the construction of traditional coal‑powered generation units.
  • Our greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity sector are projected to decline by one-third between 2005 levels and 2020. Yet, we are anticipating significant increases in both economic activity and electricity generation during this same period—proof positive that you can have economic growth and lower emissions at the same time.
  • In the transportation sector—which accounts for about one-quarter of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions—we are working with our American partners to harmonize standards to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks.
  • Our Government continues to work with the provinces and stakeholders to develop greenhouse gas emission regulations for the oil and gas sector. These regulations will be announced when they are ready.
  • In 2011, the Governments of Canada and Quebec renewed the St. Lawrence Action Plan for 15 years. With this plan, we are focusing on comprehensive monitoring with a view to biodiversity conservation, improved water quality and sustainable use of that great river.
  • We are working . . closely with our American friends on a whole range of issues, including cleaning up the Great Lakes, the largest freshwater system in the world. Last fall, we collaborated with the United States to enhance and renew the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. We reinforced our efforts to deal with harmful algae, toxic chemicals and discharges from vessels using the lakes. We also included new provisions to address issues such as aquatic invasive species, habitat degradation and the effects of climate change.
  • Canada has been active on the international stage, where we’re focused on achieving a binding global agreement on climate change that covers all major emitters.
  • Canada was also a founding member of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition—an important initiative to reduce short-lived climate pollutants that have a significant effect on global warming.
  • We are also investing $1.2 billion in fast-start financing to support climate change action and leverage private sector investment for projects in developing countries with a focus on sectors such as clean technology, renewable energy, energy efficiency, water, agriculture, and forestry.

The full speech is available at http://www.ec.gc.ca/default.asp?lang=En&n=6F2DE1CA-1&news=C88B2F09-0932-4D57-8643-A44280537B50

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