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Commissioner documents 30 years of missed opportunities on climate change action in Canada

Press Release

Ottawa, 25 November 2021—A report from Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development Jerry V. DeMarco, tabled today in the House of Commons, documents that 3 decades of federal government commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Canada have yielded an increase of more than 20% in emissions since 1990. The report, which is not an audit, documents Canada’s actions to address climate change and sets out lessons learned.

“Canada was once a leader in the fight against climate change. However, after a series of missed opportunities, it has become the worst performer of all Group of 7G7 nations since the landmark Paris Agreement on climate change was adopted in 2015”, said Mr. DeMarco. “We can’t continue to go from failure to failure; we need action and results, not just more targets and plans.”

At the heart of this report are 8 lessons learned from Canada’s action and inaction on climate change. The first is that stronger leadership and coordination are needed to drive progress on climate change. Other lessons focus on the need to reduce dependence on high-emission industries, learning to adapt to the impacts of a changing climate, raising public awareness and investing in a climate-resilient future.

As demonstrated by the COVID‑19 pandemic, concerted government action can avert the worst of a crisis. “Like pandemics, climate change is a global crisis, one which experts have been raising the alarm about for decades”, added Mr. DeMarco. “Both carry risks to human health and the economy, and both require whole-of-society responses to protect present and future generations.”

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The 2021 Reports of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, Report 5—Lessons Learned from Canada’s Record on Climate Change is available on the Office of the Auditor General of Canada website.


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