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The Paris Agreement – What does it really mean for Canada? 
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The Paris Agreement – What does it really mean for Canada? 

[caption id="attachment_22697" align="alignleft" width="150"]Image of Stephen Hazell Stephen Hazell
Director of Conservation
and General Counsel[/caption] The Paris Agreement signed Saturday by virtually all the countries of the world is truly a major success.  Congratulations to Prime Minister Trudeau and Environment Minister McKenna for playing such a constructive role in the negotiations. But let’s also thank Louise Comeau, Steven Guilbeault, Elizabeth May and the many other environmentalists who kept hope alive--pushing for an international agreement despite 10 years of obstructionism from the previous government. The Agreement commits governments to hold the increase in global average temperature to well below 2 °C and pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C. A fund of at least $100 billion to finance climate change mitigation and adaptation measures in developing countries is established. Governments are called upon to conserve and enhance sinks and reservoirs of greenhouse gases (such as forests and grasslands).Image of caribou Implementing the Paris Agreement is a huge challenge for Canada let alone less-developed countries. In effect, implementation means that fossil fuel production would be phased out globally in the coming decades and replaced by renewable energy sources and much more efficient use of all energy supplies. So for Canada, one question is: should any new oil, natural gas, or coal infrastructure (e.g., mines, pipelines, tanker terminals)  be approved for what are in essence sunset industries?  If Canada is serious about meeting its commitments under the Paris Agreement, shouldn’t the billions of dollars needed to build the proposed Northern Gateway, Trans Mountain and Energy East projects be redirected to financing low-carbon renewable energy projects and to improving the energy efficiency of our homes, industries and vehicles?  Shouldn’t the pro-fossil fuel regulatory boards such as the National Energy Board and the offshore boards be replaced by boards with a low-carbon mandate? Shouldn’t all subsidies and export development financing to the fossil fuel industry be cancelled?  The benefits to nature of avoiding the negative impacts of fossil fuel megaprojects would be enormous. Finally, shouldn’t all government be making every effort to protect and grow forests and grasslands, which we know are critically important sinks for greenhouse gas emissions—as well as for wildlife and nature? Email Signup

Welcoming the New Minister of Environment and Climate Change – Catherine McKenna!
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Welcoming the New Minister of Environment and Climate Change – Catherine McKenna!

[caption id="attachment_23282" align="alignleft" width="196"]Image of catherine mckenna Newly appointed Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna[/caption] Congratulations to Prime Minister Trudeau on the appointments to his new Cabinet, which represents a mix of Cabinet veterans and energetic newcomers. The newcomers include Catherine McKenna, the new Minister of Environment and Climate Change, and Hunter Tootoo, the new Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. McKenna proved to be an intelligent, polished and effective communicator in beating out Paul Dewar—an NDP stalwart— in the October 19 election. She will need all those skills to protect nature in the federal realm. Marlo Raynolds, former executive director of Pembina Institute, will play a senior role in her team—great news because Marlo is a tremendous advocate for nature as well as one of Canada’s best policy minds on solutions for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Minister Tootoo also defeated a high-profile member of Parliament—former Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq—in the election. He has a big job protecting fish habitat, integrating sustainability fully into fisheries management, and protecting marine species at risk such as polar bears.Untitled design Nature Canada is delighted that two veteran Cabinet ministers Stephane Dion (a former environment minister) and Carolyn Bennett (a Woman for Nature) are back in Cabinet in portfolios with important responsibilities to advance nature conservation. Dion is the new foreign affairs minister, and Bennett is indigenous and northern affairs minister. Both totally get it on environment and nature issues. Nature Canada also welcomes the appointment of Kirsty Duncan, another Woman for Nature and former Liberal environment critic, as Science Minister. Nature Canada wishes Prime Minister Trudeau and his Cabinet team every success in tackling the biodiversity and climate challenges facing Canada and other nations. Email Signup

Your voices have power – will you speak up again?
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Your voices have power – will you speak up again?

[caption id="attachment_16443" align="alignleft" width="150"]Eleanor Fast Eleanor Fast
Executive Director[/caption] Wildlife in Canada can’t speak for themselves, but we can! And the voices of our 55,000 members and supporters speaking up together is a powerful thing. We’ve seen that power recently. For example, in March I wrote about some of the work we’ve been doing as your Voice for Nature to increase protection of the Monarch butterfly throughout its range. Then hundreds of you signed a petition to the Minister of Environment demanding action. In July I was pleased to attend a meeting of the North American Commission on Environmental Cooperation where it was announced that Monarch Butterfly conservation will be a key priority for environmental cooperation between Canada, the US and Mexico. Together we raised our voices and made a difference. Nature Canada will continue to work to be a voice for the Monarch butterfly. Now, we ask you to raise your voices again. This time for threatened Swallow species. Last month I wrote to the Minister of the Environment urging action to list Barn and Bank Swallows as threatened species under the Species at Risk Act. Can you believe that it is four years since the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) recommended these birds be listed and still there has been no action? This is urgent; their numbers are declining rapidly. You can read more about this here. It makes me sad to know that the government could have taken action four years ago to protect these Swallows and to ask for an assessment of others, and yet nothing has been done. When I speak with our Conservation Team about Nature Canada’s work on Swallows, particularly our Purple Martin project, we are all happy to be contributing to understanding and protection, but we know that if the government took action then even more could be done! We know that together our voices achieve results. Let’s be a Voice for Nature for the Swallows. We don’t know who the Minister of Environment will be after the Federal election, but let’s make sure that whoever it is, one of the first things in their inbox is a petition from Nature Canada members and supporters demanding action to protect these threatened species. I’ve already written a letter. Please will you join me and write your own. Or, even easier, simply sign our petition and we’ll ensure your voice is heard.

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