David Swann on the Paris Climate Agreement

EDMONTON, AB (December 15, 2015): Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann released the following statement today regarding the Paris climate agreement:

“I was extremely heartened to finally see more than 190 countries reach consensus on a global strategy to begin addressing the massive threat posed by climate change. It is late in coming but reflects a new level of urgency and commitment particularly for our children and our children’s children.

“Canada and its provinces demonstrated real leadership and commitment through a variety of instruments, to substantially reduce our carbon emissions. I truly believe that a new era is underway where Canada will once again be a beacon to the world and Alberta will do its share.

“Indeed, our province’s poor environmental reputation is one of the key reasons why there has been so much opposition to proposed pipelines such as Keystone XL and Northern Gateway. This is a very difficult time for the oil industry but we need to demonstrate a real commitment to improving our environmental record in water use, land use and GHG emissions.

“The clearest way to do that is to be part of the global movement to put a real price on carbon and focus on reducing actual greenhouse gas emissions.”   This will stimulate both new industries with more jobs. The Alberta government also needs to signal a strong commitment to energy conservation and, with water shortages in southern Alberta likely, work to protect our eastern slopes and headwaters.

While we will need fossil fuels for transportation into the foreseeable future, clean energy alternatives are attracting much more investment and will certainly displace coal-fired power in the near future, with substantial health benefits.

This will be a financial adjustment for us all but life is increasingly threatened across the planet. We are all part of the problem and must be part of the solution through this historic commitment.