NEW ENVIRONMENT MINISTER MUST ACT ON CLIMATE AND ARCTIC FILES

OTTAWA – New Democrats are calling on newly-appointed Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq to table much-delayed greenhouse gas emission targets for Canada’s oil and gas sector, as well as a plan around climate change prevention, mitigation and adaptation in the Arctic.

 “The minister has many challenges ahead, chief among them is tabling oil and gas sector regulations,” said NDP Environment critic Megan Leslie (Halifax). “Canadians, and our international trading partners, have been waiting many years through many ministers for this key tool in reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. Further delay is recklessly jeopardizing both our economy and our environment.”

No region of Canada is more affected by climate change than the Arctic. Last summer saw record lows for Arctic sea ice levels, which prompted the NDP to call for an Emergency Debate in the House of Commons to address the environmental and policy implications of this melting. Low Arctic sea ice levels and warmer Arctic waters are expected to accelerate the rate of climate change and alter the path of the jet stream, leading to more drought and extreme weather.

“In addition to global environmental consequences, the melting of Arctic sea ice will impact Canada’s arctic sovereignty, national security, arctic fisheries and ecosystems, resource development, and the rights of indigenous peoples,” said Dennis Bevington (Western Arctic). “We look forward to working with Minister Aglukkaq to develop this much-needed plan.”