Statement on the Signing of the Paris Agreement


December 12, 2015

Statement by Diane Beckett, Interim Executive Director, Sierra Club Canada Foundation, on the signing of the Paris Agreement

"The climate agreement signed in Paris today by representatives of 195 countries is an important milestone on the road to a future without fossil fuels. 

"Delegates agreed to a long-term goal of limiting average global warming to 1.5° and achieving zero greenhouse gas emissions by the second half of the century. Canada made important contributions to the negotiations, with Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna expressing support for the 1.5° limit and making it clear that the country would develop a plan to deliver on its Paris commitments. The Canadian delegation also pushed hard and effectively for an agreement that recognized human rights and the rights of Indigenous peoples, as well as the right to a just transition for fossil fuel workers.

“The agreement also calls for continuing financial support over time to help vulnerable countries adapt to the impacts of climate change and shift their economies to renewable energy. And it opens a conversation about providing support to countries that suffer loss and damage due to the unavoidable impacts of climate change.

“Any international agreement is bound to be limited by the dynamics and complexities of building consensus among 195 countries and multiple negotiating blocs. So it’s no surprised that the Paris Agreement leaves much to be done by the environment and energy groups, international development and social justice organizations, trade unions, cities, and business groups whose research, analysis, and front-line advocacy paved the way for a global deal. In Canada, the next step begins right away, as work begins on the pan-Canadian climate framework that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised to deliver within 90 days of Paris."