Trudeau Promises More Science, Indigenous Perspectives in Climate Action at COP21

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told international dignitaries that “Canada is back,” Monday in his speech at the opening of the COP21 climate talks in Paris.

Trudeau told the crowd, “our government is making climate change a top priority and our actions will be based on five principals.”

Trudeau promised first to proceed with climate policy “based on the best scientific information and advice” adding, “second, we will support and implement policies that will contribute to the low-carbon economy and this will include carbon pricing.”

"Third and very importantly, we will work with our provinces, territories, cities, and indigenous leaders who are taking a leadership role on climate change,” he said.

“Indigenous peoples have known for thousands of years how to care for our planet. The rest of us have a lot to learn and no time to waste.” He added that Canadian cities also have much to teach government how to “create clean growth and combat climate change.”

Video: Zack Embree

On Tuesday environment and climate change minister Catherine McKenna hosted a working lunch with Canadian indigenous leaders including Okalik Eegeesiak, chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Council, Chief Bill Erasmus from the Assembly of First Nations and David Chartland, vice president of the Métis National Council.

“Fourth, we will help the developing world tackle the challenges of climate change.”

Canada impressed the international community by announcing an increase in contributions to the green climate find to $2.65 billion from a previous $300 million under the Conservatives.

“Many of the world’s most vulnerable countries have done little to contribute to the problem but face the most significant consequences,” Trudeau said. “And all countries deserve the right to develop and this development can and should be base on access to clean energy technologies.”

Bill Gates congratulated Canada for increasing its pledge to support developing nations in their transition to clean energy.

Canada joined Gates and a handful of other investors in Mission Innovation, a collaboration of 20 nations to accelerate the clean energy revolution.

Trudeau said Canada is ready to “take on a new leadership role internationally.”

“We will participate in collaborative initiatives, such as Mission Innovation and the carbon pricing leadership coalition and we will seek out opportunity to work bilaterally or multilaterally beginning with our North American partners.”

“Finally, we view climate change not just on the challenge it is but also as an historic opportunity: an opportunity to build a sustainable economy based on clean technology, green infrastructure, and green jobs.”

“We will not sacrifice growth: we will create growth.” 

Carol Linnitt is a journalist, editor, illustrator and co-founder of The Narwhal. Carol has been reporting on energy and environmental…

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