Canada must have the “courage” to give up its fossil fuel production as part of the global fight against climate change, France’s Élysée Palace told Le Devoir on the edges of the One Planet Summit last week in Paris.
“Maybe I need to explain to the French President that the Albertan government has shown incredible courage,” Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna replied Friday, in an interview with CBC.
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“Canada’s situation is an example of the courage that is required today to renounce some of the wealth that we find beneath our feet,” an Élysée spokesperson told Le Devoir’s Alexandre Shields.
“It’s such a temptation to use those resources, especially because Canada has it all,” the spokesperson continued. “You have natural gas, you have oil, you have oil sands. That’s billions of dollars at rest.”
But “at the same time, you know that if you continue to exploit those resources, you’ll increase your greenhouse gas emissions,” which means Canada must turn its back on those resources. “That’s where a leader has the courage to ask: ‘What strategies can we adopt to decarbonize our economy?’”
McKenna spokesperson Marie-Pascale Des Rosiers said Canada is on track to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies by 2025 (though the Auditor-General isn’t thrilled with that effort), and planning tough, new controls on methane emissions from the oil and gas sector (though that effort has been stalling out in the face of industry threats).