VANCOUVER -- The U.S. government's decision to approve the Keystone XL construction permit puts the country behind in a global economy that is rapidly shifting to renewable energy -- and could slow the necessary transition from fossil fuels, according to the David Suzuki Foundation.
"This is not just a U.S. issue," Foundation science and policy director Ian Bruce said. "This is also a Canadian issue and represents an international threat to climate stability."
The permit approval marks the beginning of a lengthy process, which includes awaiting approval from Nebraska regulators and TransCanada's filing of its pipeline route plans. Those plans must then go through the state's Public Service Commission and public hearings.
Although the pipeline still faces some hurdles, Bruce stressed that the permit approval is a major step backwards.
"A fossilized past threatens a renewable future," Bruce said. "The global rush for clean energy is on. At this rate, renewable energy will boost the world economy by $19 trillion. There is no need to go backwards as the market for fossil fuels continues to shrink."
Canada's recently announced 2017 federal budget marked a commitment to powering the country with renewable energy. To move forward on Keystone XL would be inconsistent and irresponsible in light of this commitment, Bruce said.
"Promising billions for a green economy while planning for oilsands expansion and increased oil production and exports is a contradiction," Bruce said. "This is Canada's opportunity to move from a dark future dependent on dirty fossil fuels to a bright, healthy future powered by renewables. Our government has a chance to change the course of this unfortunate U.S. decision. We need to honour our international commitment to the Paris Agreement, follow through on federal funding of clean technology, and show the world that leaders innovate -- and do not build pipelines."
Emily Fister, Climate & Clean Energy Communications Specialist
VANCOUVER -- The David Suzuki Foundation is encouraged to see the federal government following through on its commitments to invest in clean energy and transit in the 2017 budget. However, the budget misses crucial protection for nature -- the backbone for a healthy environment and thriving economy.
On funding Canada's clean energy economy:
The Foundation applauds the ongoing support for national programs to support the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change.
"We welcome this budget as a step forward for all communities that want to transition to renewable energy, especially in the North," Foundation science and policy director Ian Bruce said.
Following the $1 billion commitment to clean technology in the 2016 budget, the 2017 budget made a commitment of $2.37 billion over four years to Canada's clean technology industry. As well, the government outlines its plan to invest $21.9 billion over 11 years in green infrastructure.
"Investment in renewables will help stimulate jobs and economic growth -- far more so than supporting a fossil fuel economy," Bruce said.
On stable transit infrastructure:
As many areas of Canada experience increased gridlock, the Foundation welcomes the commitment of phase two public infrastructure funding -- $20.1 billion over 11 years -- to solve this problem.
"This is ongoing, stable funding needed across Canada," Foundation transportation policy analyst Gideon Forman said. "It will engage provinces on national solutions to climate change. Supporting transit is one of the most effective ways to cut down emissions, and improve both air quality and economic performance.
"We applaud the commitment to this, but hope to see an acceleration of the funding to meet these goals."
Missing protection for oceans:
While budget elements for climate are robust, nature protection falls short of our expectations.
The Foundation, along with 16 environmental non-profit partners, had advocated for $146 million a year for five years toward marine protected areas and fisheries conservation. Yet, there is no funding allocated in the budget to address this need.
With overwhelming support for ocean protections from Canadians, the Foundation is concerned that this budget falls short.
"Ocean conservation and climate change solutions need to go hand in hand. While developing a clean energy economy we must also make a concerted effort to conserve nature," Foundation Western Region science projects manager Bill Wareham said.
"Last year we applauded the federal government for confirming its mandate to establish new marine protected areas with a goal of protecting at least 10 per cent of our oceans by 2020. This commitment is admirable, but means little if there's no funding to do the work required to meet the goal.
"We're asking the federal government to provide more detail on the Oceans Protection Plan, and how it will help achieve the 10 per cent goal. With less than one per cent currently protected, there's a lot of work to do over the next three years," he said.
Climate, clean energy, and transit
11th-hour invitation to testify issued to coalition of NGOs pressing government to proceed with proposed phase-out to protect biodiversity and long-term food security
OTTAWA - Leading environmental groups, health advocates and campaign movements are raising concerns about MPs' one-sided review of the proposed phase-out of pesticides formulated with imidacloprid, one of three controversial neonicotinoid insecticides ("neonics") in widespread use. Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) has proposed to phase out the main uses of imidacloprid in three to five years, after an environmental assessment found dangerous levels of the chemical contaminating the environment.
The House of Commons Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food requested an extension to the comment period in order to study the proposal, with hearings beginning Tuesday. The notice posted on the committee website for Tuesday's meeting lists CropLife Canada (the pesticide industry trade association), along with Syngenta Canada and Bayer CropScience Inc. (manufacturers of neonic pesticides) as witnesses. Representatives of the PMRA and Agriculture Canada are also scheduled to appear. Environment and Climate Change Canada is not listed as a witness. None of the groups issuing this release were originally invited to testify before the committee. Approximately one hour after distribution of the original draft of this release, the David Suzuki Foundation received an invitation to testify.
"It appears the committee has given centre stage to industry lobby groups opposed to restrictions on pesticides. It is troubling that environmental concerns are clearly an afterthought," said Sidney Ribaux, executive director of Équiterre.
"Independent scientists warn that the widespread use of neonics threatens many species," said Lisa Gue, senior researcher and policy analyst with the David Suzuki Foundation. "We urge the PMRA to confirm its decision to phase out imidacloprid, tighten the timeline and take parallel action to ban other neonics."
"There has been an overwhelming flood of public support for Canada's proposal to ban one of the most harmful neonics," said Liz McDowell, campaign director with SumOfUs. "People understand that the routine use of these chemicals is not necessary or sustainable, and they don't want to see industry lobbyists weakening such an important measure."
More than five million people -- including hundreds of thousands of Canadians -- have signed Avaaz and SumOfUs petitions calling for neonics to be banned, and more than 110,000 Canadians and counting have submitted individual public comments to the PMRA in support of a ban on imidacloprid.
Mass die-offs of honeybees linked to the agricultural use of neonics prompted researchers and regulators around the world to re-examine the pesticides in recent years. In 2015, the Task Force on Systemic Pesticides -- an international group of independent scientists -- reviewed more than 1,000 scientific studies on neonics and found clear evidence of harm to honeybees and other pollinators, terrestrial invertebrates such as earthworms, aquatic invertebrates and birds. The Task Force sounded the alarm about these pesticides destroying ecological services, such as pollination, which are essential for long-term food security. Emerging research indicates that neonics and their residues may harm human health.
The European Union has a partial ban on three neonics, including imidacloprid, and France recently passed a law banning neonics altogether as of September 2018.
Canada's PMRA re-evaluated imidacloprid last year and concluded that its current use is not sustainable on the basis of risks to aquatic ecosystems. The environmental assessment found imidacloprid present in Canadian lakes and rivers at levels that are harmful to aquatic insects essential to the health of aquatic ecosystems. This assessment did not consider risks to pollinators, which the PMRA has been evaluating through a separate process with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) since 2012.
"We would prefer swifter action to stop imidacloprid from entering the environment," said John Bennett of Friends of the Earth Canada. "There is no scientific justification for another three to five years on the market."
Avaaz campaign director Danny Auron said, "This chemical is a threat to our delicate web of life, from aquatic insects to bees and birds. That's why millions of people are urging the government to put bees, people and the environment ahead of toxic corporate interests."
The PMRA will consult on the proposed phase-out of imidacloprid until March 23, 2017, and will issue a final decision later this year.
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Distributed on behalf of the following groups:
· David Suzuki Foundation
· Friends of the Earth
· Canadian Environmental Law Association
· Environmental Defence
· Prevent Cancer Now
· Alliance pour l'interdiction des pesticides systémiques
· Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE)
For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Brendan Glauser, David Suzuki Foundation, 604-356-8829, email@example.com
Ari Pottens, Avaaz, 647 209 9799, firstname.lastname@example.org
Liz McDowell, SumOfUs, 604-219-6337, email@example.com
Julie Tremblay, Équiterre, 514-522-2000 × 311 | 514-966-6992, firstname.lastname@example.org
John Bennett, Friends of the Earth, 613-291-6888, email@example.com
Kathleen Cooper, Canadian Environmental Law Association, 705-341-2488, firstname.lastname@example.org
Muhannad Malas, Environmental Defence, 416-323-9521 ext. 241, email@example.com
Meg Sears, Prevent Cancer Now, 613 297-6042, firstname.lastname@example.org
Kim Perrotta, Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE), 905-628-9437 email@example.com
VANCOUVER -- The B.C. government has failed to prioritize badly needed transit infrastructure investment in its latest budget. Based on details provided, investment over the next three years will continue to fall short of what Metro Vancouver and the province need to build and maintain fast, effective public transit.
"Anticipated budget surpluses over the next three years are dwarfed by the growing costs of congestion in B.C.," said David Suzuki Foundation policy analyst Steve Kux. "Traffic congestion costs Metro Vancouver alone over $1 billion a year -- and that's expected to balloon to $2 billion by 2045. Failing to commit to increased investment in transit is a missed opportunity no matter how you look at it."
Kux emphasized that this is a critical moment for the province to follow the federal government's lead on infrastructure improvement.
In November 2016, the federal government committed to provide $25.3 billion for public transit infrastructure projects across the country over the next 11 years, including up to 50 per cent of funds needed for specific projects. However, to secure this investment, provincial and municipal governments have to cooperate to produce the remaining 50 per cent.
"The B.C. government has only committed to a fraction of the funding needed to achieve the needed transit improvements across Metro Vancouver, the province's most congested region," Kux said. "Instead of pledging a fair share of investment, the B.C. government has prioritized tax cuts that will benefit the wealthiest British Columbians most and give financial protections to polluting industries like liquefied natural gas. This lack of investment will lead to costly delays in improvements that are needed today."
In Breaking gridlock, the Foundation's 2016 report on B.C.'s transit investment deficit, Kux and Foundation science and policy director Ian Bruce found the government has underfunded transit since 2008. Eight years into the 12-year Provincial Transit Plan, only 23 per cent of the provincial contributions have been realized.
The budget also falls short on reducing carbon emissions. Although it provides a $40 million top-up to the Clean Energy Vehicle Program, it fails to strengthen the province's carbon tax and focuses more attention on financial incentives for fracked natural gas, which is a major contributor to climate change.
"The province continues to pin its hopes on LNG and new hydro projects at the expense of innovation and supporting job growth in areas like clean tech," Kux said. "Clean energy organizations are leaving this province, and we're falling behind the rest of the country and the world."
The Canadian Wind Energy Association shut down its B.C. operations last year, citing better opportunities in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Other low-carbon, job-creating industries could follow if B.C. does not commit to help transition the world off of fossil fuels.
Emily Fister, Communications Specialist -- 604-440-5470
TORONTO -- Conservation groups are calling on federal, provincial and territorial environment ministers to act quickly to recover Canada's imperilled woodland caribou herds through habitat measures. The call comes in advance of the environment ministers' meeting in Ottawa February 21 to 22.
It has been almost five years since the federal government released the boreal woodland caribou recovery strategy under the Species at Risk Act (SARA). The strategy developed a threshold of risk for managing caribou, and guides provinces to maintain or restore each caribou range so that at least 65 per cent of it is undisturbed, as caribou need undisturbed habitat to avoid predators and survive. The recovery strategy calls for range plans to be completed by October 2017 that demonstrate the protection, maintenance and restoration of caribou habitat for each caribou herd.
Yet, across Canada, industrial activities such as mining, oil and gas and logging continue to disturb critical caribou habitat. For example, even though the habitat of west central Alberta's Little Smoky range is over 95 per cent disturbed, the province released a draft range plan that allows new logging and oil and gas surface disturbance. In Ontario and Quebec, logging continues to degrade intact caribou habitat.
A recent article in Biological Conservation concluded that Canada will likely lose more than half its woodland caribou populations within a few decades unless habitat conservation measures are improved -- especially in Western Canada where energy industry activity is heavy.
"Clear science exists to guide caribou recovery, yet we continue to see provinces allowing habitat destruction while engaging in band-aid solutions such as predator control and zoo-like enclosures," said Rachel Plotkin of the David Suzuki Foundation "If we are to have wild caribou in the future, habitat protection and restoration need to be kicked to the top of the action list."
Conservation groups believe the economy can work for both caribou and industry. Tenure and lease systems can be realigned to reduce pressure on critical caribou habitat, some activities can be confined to existing disturbed areas, and restoration initiatives can be implemented in areas where habitat has already exceeded disturbance thresholds.
Protection and restoration of caribou habitat will have impacts beyond caribou recovery; the boreal forest on which caribou depend stores significant carbon and provides homes and resting places for hundreds of other species, such as migratory birds.
"To uphold our wildlife laws and commitments, provinces need to enforce limits on surface disturbance within caribou ranges," said Alberta Wilderness Association conservation specialist Carolyn Campbell. "They also need to follow important protected-areas promises with actions."
"Protecting caribou is synonymous with a healthy Boreal forest. We have the knowledge and capacity to be good stewards -- we can protect our wildlife and have sustainable forest industries, too," said Greenpeace forest campaigner, Olivier Kolmel. "The government must act now, because soon it will simply be too late."
For more information, please read the media backgrounder or contact:
Carolyn Campbell, Alberta Wilderness Association: 403 921-9519.
Rachel Plotkin, David Suzuki Foundation: 416 799-8435
Manon Dubois (French): 514 679-0821
VANCOUVER -- Today's announcement by Fisheries, Oceans and Canadian Coast Guard Minister Dominic LeBlanc to protect rare, delicate glass sponge reefs in B.C.'s Hecate Strait is a strong step toward meeting international biodiversity commitments and ensuring the ecosystems that underpin fisheries are better managed for decades to come.
"The sponge reefs that cover roughly the same area as the Lower Mainland are globally unique, and their contribution to overall ocean health and fisheries is only beginning to be understood," said Foundation senior research scientist Scott Wallace. "This marine protected area not only safeguards the sponge reefs but also fisheries that are inextricably linked to a healthy ecosystem."
Glass sponge reefs were thought to have been extinct for 60 million years until scientists discovered them in the 1980s in B.C.'s coastal waters. The extremely fragile animals use silica dissolved in seawater to manufacture skeletons.
"The minister's announcement signals to other countries that this unique marine reef is something Canadians value as a precious part of our natural heritage," Wallace said.
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Scott Wallace, Senior Research Scientist
Theresa Beer, Senior Communications Specialist
VANCOUVER -- Canada's announcement today to ratify a plan that guides how people use and protect its North Pacific coastal waters marks a small but positive step toward meeting biodiversity targets and supporting coastal ecosystems and communities, the David Suzuki Foundation said.
"This conservation framework has been 10 years in the making," said Foundation science projects manager Bill Wareham. "Moving ahead is an important step to prevent human-based ocean activities from harming one of the world's richest marine biodiversity areas."
Fisheries, Oceans and Canadian Coast Guard Minister Dominic LeBlanc is also expected to announce a marine protected area for Hecate Strait's glass sponge reefs tomorrow.
"These prehistoric reefs are considered one of the Pacific Ocean's most awe-inspiring treasures," Wareham said. "Protection will help ensure the reefs survive and provide vital habitat to marine life."
Although most Canadians are familiar with city planning, few are aware of how activities are zoned and regulated in oceans. The initiative -- in what is known as the Pacific North Coast Integrated Management Area -- maintains ecosystem health and biological richness as the foundation of all marine-use decision-making.
"This approach highlights the dependency of human communities and economies on healthy ocean ecosystems," Wareham said. "We know that human activities must respect biological limits if we hope to support cultures, communities and economies over the long term."
Ratifying the plan and establishing the new protected area bring Canada closer to meeting international biodiversity commitments, including the responsibility to protect at least 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas by 2020. The initiative supports communities that depend on the marine environment for fisheries, sustainable aquaculture and tourism. It also respects Indigenous rights and title and is designed to use traditional knowledge in managing marine resources.
Managing this ocean area's rich biological wealth to support local livelihoods and future generations is one of the most important issues facing B.C.'s coastal communities. "With Canada, B.C. and First Nations co-governing, we're hopeful this ocean area can support some of the best-managed and productive marine areas anywhere in Canada," Wareham said.
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Bill Wareham, Science Projects Manager, Western Canada
Theresa Beer, Senior Communications Specialist
OTTAWA -- The federal government will not meet its commitment to end all drinking water advisories affecting First Nations communities by 2020 without significant changes to current processes, according to a new report, Glass half empty? Year 1 progress toward resolving drinking water advisories in nine First Nations in Ontario.
Released by the David Suzuki Foundation and Council of Canadians, and with advisers Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, the report assesses the federal government's progress in nine First Nations across Ontario. With 81 active DWAs -- more than any other province -- Ontario provides a snapshot of Canada's First Nations water crisis.
"We are calling on the government to work with First Nations to make necessary changes to the way it addresses the lack of safe drinking water in First Nation communities," said David Suzuki Foundation Ontario science projects manager Rachel Plotkin. "At present, it is not on track to meet its promise."
As of last fall, Canada had 156 drinking water advisories affecting 110 First Nations communities, many of which are recurring or ongoing. Some have been in place for more than 20 years. The 2016 federal budget included $1.8 billion to help resolve the crisis by 2020, in addition to funding it has already invested in First Nations water infrastructure, operations and management.
Of the nine First Nations profiled in the report, three are on track to or have had drinking water advisories lifted; efforts are underway in three others, but there is uncertainty about whether the advisories will be lifted on time; and for the remaining three, it is unlikely advisories will be lifted by 2020 unless current processes and procedures are reformed. One community that had its DWA lifted now faces a new suite of problems, pointing to the need for long-term, sustainable solutions.
The report reveals fundamental flaws in how the federal government fulfils its responsibility to ensure safe drinking water in First Nations communities. These include a highly complex funding process full of loopholes, gaps and delays; a lack of transparency and accountability in federal monitoring of progress; and the lack of a regulatory framework to govern drinking water for First Nations.
The report outlines a series of 12 recommendations that the government must implement to get its work back on track.
"The Canadian government is required to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and recognize human rights to water and sanitation, but it has yet to take the action required to uphold these rights," said Council of Canadians political director Brent Patterson. "This report's recommendations are long overdue steps that the government must take to ensure these fundamental rights are enjoyed by all people in Canada."
"This report highlights the need for a more transparent process for how long-term drinking water advisories will be addressed, so that First Nations and Canadians can monitor the government's progress toward its commitment and, ultimately, toward the realization of the human right to water for First Nations," said Amanda Klasing of Human Rights Watch.
The complete Glass half empty? report is available at davidsuzuki.org/water.
For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Communications Manager, David Suzuki Foundation
Note to editors:
In addition to the full report and news release, a fact sheet is available to all media.
VANCOUVER -- The David Suzuki Foundation is encouraged by several elements of the B.C. NDP's Climate Action Plan, released today. The strategy addresses several major concerns that will put B.C. on track to achieving emissions reductions. These elements include:
• A commitment to reduce emissions and achieve emissions-reductions targets for 2030 and 2050.
• Investing in climate change solutions, including public transit, energy efficiency, clean technology and initiatives that will reduce B.C.'s dependence on fossil fuels.
• Working with the Climate Leadership Team to implement the complete list of recommendations.
"It's promising to see the B.C. NDP's commitment to public transit infrastructure and clean tech," said foundation science and policy director Ian Bruce. "Investing in a clean energy future represents a significant economic opportunity. In particular, we're happy to see the transportation funding framework that the David Suzuki Foundation advocated for in our 2016 report Breaking gridlock incorporated into the B.C. NDP platform."
The NDP's plan also commits to meeting the federally mandated $50 per tonne price on carbon pollution by 2022. Although this target is in line with national carbon pricing, the foundation wants to see the next government of B.C. commit to a plan beyond 2022.
More detail is needed about the financial elements of the plan. These questions should be answered as the election unfolds.
"Climate leadership is not a sprint," Bruce said. "B.C. needs to commit to going the distance, improving on current targets and clearing the air on key issues like liquefied natural gas. How does LNG fit in with any plan to reduce emissions? We're not sure yet. How will the next government ensure that methane emissions from this sector are accurately measured and reduced? All parties still need to answer these questions. We look forward to hearing what the other parties have planned on climate action. Now, more than ever, B.C. has the opportunity to lead on environmental solutions and invest in a sustainable economy."
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Emily Fister, Climate Change & Clean Energy Communications Specialist
David Suzuki Foundation
VANCOUVER -- The U.S. government's decision today to approve the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines represents a missed opportunity for the country to lead on clean energy. "If the world is serious about addressing climate change, we can't continue to build long-lived fossil fuel infrastructure," David Suzuki Foundation CEO Peter Robinson said. "These projects lock us into increased use of carbon fuels while hindering the urgently needed transition to clean energy."
Beyond their climate impacts, the pipelines threaten Indigenous water resources and land. "Indigenous rights must take priority over short-term oil-industry profits," Robinson said. "We stand with the community of Standing Rock, which is opposing the Dakota Access pipeline. Approving these pipelines is short-sighted and will affect not only the environment, but the health of communities."
"Climate change has no borders," Robinson said. "Canada doesn't need to follow U.S. President Donald Trump's direction on this pipeline decision. We can lead on one of the fastest-growing industries in the world: renewable energy."
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Emily Fister, Climate Change & Clean Energy Communications Specialist
David Suzuki Foundation
Phone: 604-374-4102 (Vancouver)
MONTREAL -- As North American monarch butterfly populations decline, the David Suzuki Foundation is launching a Monarchs in Mexico contest. Citizens throughout Canada will have the chance to win a one-of-a-kind trip to discover a magnificent refuge for this species. The monarch was designated as endangered in November.
Winners will have 10 days to discover Mexico's beauty and observe monarch butterflies in their natural habitat. After visiting the historical heart of Mexico City, winners will enjoy an awe-inspiring spectacle of millions of butterflies in flight at the El Rosario and Sierra Chincua sanctuaries, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008.
The endangered monarch is a Canadian icon
The contest is part of the Butterflyway Project launched by the Foundation last spring to raise awareness among Canadians of the threats facing the monarch, including climate change, habitat reduction and pesticide use. In agriculture, widespread herbicide use reduces the number of plants monarchs rely on, including flowering plants adult butterflies need for nectar and milkweed their caterpillars depend on for food. Milkweed used to be common in North America, but has now been eradicated from many fields, declining by as much as 58 per cent in some regions. Experts on the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada say every generation of migrating monarchs depend on milkweed. Planting milkweed helps the monarch population, which hit a historical low of barely 33.5 million in 2013, compared to the annual average of 350 million a year over the past 15 years. Thanks to the efforts of citizens, more than 5,000 plants and 20,000 seed packs have been planted in Canada in 2016, as part of the Butterflyway Project.
"This steep decline in monarch populations over the past few years has raised concerns about the impact humans have on biodiversity, on which we all depend," says David Suzuki Foundation Quebec science projects manager Louise Hénault-Ethier. "A 2016 study published in Scientific Reports estimates that the monarch population in North America has a probability of declining up to 57 per cent over 20 years. Fortunately, there are solutions, but they require cooperation between North American governments, scientists, non-governmental organizations and citizens everywhere, including in Quebec. The first step could simply be discovering the wonder of the monarch. We hope this contest will encourage people to learn more about this butterfly and the importance of protecting it."
Butterflyway Project: Second edition will take off in 2017
The second edition of the Butterflyway Project will be announced in early March with a range of suggested actions that will enable people to help save an iconic Quebec species -- including buying milkweed, spearheading political advocacy and taking part in an ambassador program to create a butterfly effect to protect the monarch locally.
The contest will run from January 18 to 29, 2017, and is open to all Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada. The prize includes a 10-day trip for two to Mexico, including return flight to Mexico City* from the winner's city of residence, and accommodations.
The winner will be drawn at random and contacted on January 30, 2017, between 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. EST, through the contact information indicated on the entry ballot. The winner will have two hours to confirm whether he or she accepts the prize.
For more details, go to http://action2.davidsuzuki.org/mexico
The Monarchs in Mexico contest is presented by Nature's Way and Cascades, in partnership with Espace pour la vie, Aeroplan and G Adventures.
_*The Foundation would like to point out that GHG emissions from the return flight to Mexico will be offset by the purchase of carbon credits. _
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Information and interview requests:
Manon Dubois, Communications Director (Quebec)
David Suzuki Foundation
National program partners:
Vancouver/Montreal/Toronto -- The David Suzuki Foundation welcomes the pan-Canadian climate action plan released at today's First Ministers' meeting, but notes that more will be needed to put us on track to meet the Paris Agreement goals of limiting global warming to 1.5 to 2 C.
"This is a good start on the way to a cleaner, stronger future for Canada in terms of the economy and the environment," said David Suzuki Foundation science and policy director Ian Bruce. "For the first time, Canada has built the foundation of an effective national climate plan that, if fully implemented, will put the country much closer to reaching its 2030 emissions target. These policies will need to be improved over time."
The federal government has taken an important leadership role by amplifying some of the best provincial climate solutions at a national scale, and adding a few new ones.
The key solutions included in the plan include:
Notably absent from the strategy is a zero-emission vehicle standard similar to California and Quebec's that would increase availability and sales of electric vehicles in Canada, although the plan does include measures to expand electric vehicle charging infrastructure. The Foundation is also concerned that if recently approved pipelines and LNG facilities are built, they could prevent Canada from reaching deeper reductions required to keep global temperature rise within safe levels. These projects would also force other sectors of the Canadian economy to reduce emissions more drastically.
Canada's leaders must now lay out a timetable for implementation and provide a full accounting of how newly approved pipeline and LNG projects fit in with the country's plan to reduce emissions by a minimum of 30 per cent relative to 2005 levels by 2030.
"For a plan to be credible, it must not send mixed signals about national priorities," Bruce said. "Responsible action on climate change means shifting from fossil fuels and diversifying the economy to ensure Canadians have good jobs today and into the future while also protecting the environment. That is what is in the national interest."
As large economies around the world take aggressive action on climate change, demand and markets for fossil fuels will decline. Canada must therefore seize the opportunity to transition to a clean economy to strengthen competitiveness, environmental sustainability and quality of life.
Steve Kux, David Suzuki Foundation: 604-374-4102
Gideon Forman, David Suzuki Foundation: 647-703-5957
Diego Creimer, David Suzuki Foundation: 514-999-6743