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Thank you, Secretary General.
I want to thank you personally for your continued leadership on this important issue. It’s safe to say that we would not be here today if it was not for all the hard work that you and President Hollande put into making the Paris Agreement a reality.
On behalf of Canadians and all world citizens, thank you for all you have done.
I’m honoured to be back here at the United Nations, especially today, on Earth Day.
I can’t think of a better place – nor a better day – to add Canada’s signature to the historic Paris Agreement on climate change.
As I said last November in Paris, Canada views climate change not just as a challenge, but as an opportunity.
A chance to build a clean growth economy that will help to fight climate change while creating good, well-paying jobs.
It’s a challenge we’re already embracing.
In the months since Paris, our government has met with our provincial and territorial premiers, as well as Indigenous and municipal leaders.
Together, we’re creating a plan that will help us meet or exceed our emissions targets and encourage clean economic growth.
To encourage actions that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we’re investing billions in a low-carbon economy fund.
To get clean technology to market faster, we’re making immediate investments to support clean tech research and development.
And alongside 19 other countries, we’ve signed on to Mission Innovation – a global partnership that aims to double government investment in clean energy innovation over five years, while encouraging private sector leadership in clean energy.
These actions are just the beginning.
We’re not making these investments simply to be nice, although I know Canada does have a reputation to uphold in that department.
We’re making these investments – and we’re following through on our commitments – because it’s the right thing to do. For our environment and our economy, and as part of the global community.
The humanitarian case is clear. We know that it will be the world’s poorest citizens who will be hardest hit by climate change – displaced by rising sea levels, left hungry by failed crops, more vulnerable to disease.
Climate change will make more difficult every other challenge we face – whether it’s ensuring safe and secure food and water or responding to the needs of refugees.
The business case is equally clear. Last year, nearly a third of a trillion dollars was invested globally in renewable power – nearly 50% more than was invested in power from fossil fuels.
That’s a trend that will continue to grow, and it’s one that represents a tremendous opportunity for Canada. One that we cannot – and will not – ignore.
At the same time, Canada’s ambition cannot end with making sure that we alone make the most of a challenging situation. Developing countries have a role to play, too.
They shouldn’t be punished for a problem they didn’t create, nor should they be deprived the opportunities for clean growth that developed nations are now pursuing.
That is why Canada will also invest $2.65 billion over the next five years to help the developing world grow in a cleaner, more sustainable way.
These actions – along with tabling the Paris Agreement in the House of Commons next month and its eventual ratification later this year – confirm Canada’s commitment. Not just to the United Nations, but to each other.
Because it’s only when nations work together that we have any hope of addressing climate change.
It’s only when we work together that we can learn from each other, build on shared knowledge, and develop economies that are as clean as they are competitive.
At the end of the Paris negotiations, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said of the resulting agreement that “what was once unthinkable has now become unstoppable.”
Today, with my signature, I give you our word that Canada’s efforts will not cease.
Climate change will test our intelligence, our compassion and our will. But we are equal to that challenge.
I encourage other signatories to move swiftly to follow through on their commitments, and encourage those countries that are not in a position to sign today to follow shortly.
In every possible sense, we are all in this together.
Together, we can make this a better world. Thank you.