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Throne speech highlights commitments to fighting climate change

Saturday, December 7th 2019, 1:46 pm - The speech details various ways Canada will reach net-zero emissions by 2050 and how land and oceans will be protected.

The Speech from the Throne opened a new session of Parliament and climate change was one of the most prominent topics in the official remarks.

In addition to supporting the middle class, economic security, and pursuing reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, the speech reiterated the Liberal government’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving sustainability while creating jobs.

Wildfires, flooding, ocean pollution, and coastal erosion were cited as climate change impacts that Canadians are facing every day and are issues that will become increasingly severe with climate change.

“Canada’s children and grandchildren will judge this generation by its action – or inaction – on the defining challenge of the time: climate change,” the speech stated.

“Climate” appeared 11 times in Gov. Gen. Julie Payette’s speech, which was 3,300 words long. For comparison, the 2013 throne speech delivered by Payette's immediate predecessor, David Johnston was over 7,000 words long and did not mention “climate” once.

“The Government will set a target to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. This goal is ambitious, but necessary – for both environmental protection and economic growth,” Payette said.

Steps that the government will take to achieve this net-zero emissions goal include: a price on pollution; affordable energy-efficient homes; options that will make it easier for people to choose zero-emission vehicles; clean power that is affordable for all communities; working with businesses to make Canada the best place to start and grow a clean technology company; and assistance for people who have been displaced by climate-related disasters.

The government also stated the goal to preserve the country’s natural legacy, the environment, by protecting 25 per cent of Canada’s land and 25 per cent of Canada’s oceans by 2025, by reducing plastic polluting and planting two billion trees.

A full transcription of the speech can be viewed here.

With files from CBC News.

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