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News Release – November 22, 2005

National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy Releases Advice to the Prime Minister on Climate Change and Energy

Ottawa, November 22, 2005 — In an advisory report commissioned by the Prime Minister, the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy (NRTEE) has recommended new approaches to governance to tackle the important issue of climate change. The Round Table’s report was delivered to Prime Minister Paul Martin at a meeting with the NRTEE members today.

The Round Table released its recommendations on how to improve policies in three areas related to climate change: looking at the dangers of climate change to Canada, engaging the United States and developing countries that are not participating in the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change, and improving Kyoto’s “Clean Development “for carbon trading and sustainable development.

The Prime Minister requested the NRTEE’s advice in February when the United Nations’ Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change took effect. It has been delivered in preparation for a major international climate change conference hosted by Canada in Montreal at the end of November.

“The National Round Table has given serious consideration, not just to the substance of policies, but to the mechanisms to implement them,” said Glen Murray, NRTEE Chair. “Climate change is the largest single threat to Canada’s economy because of the devastation it will visit upon the ecological systems from which “

“We endorse the approach taken by the Prime Minister to integrated policy delivery on many issues and see the need to extend this approach to this national priority,” added Mr. Murray. “The Round Table members have been impressed by the Prime Minister’s cross-jurisdictional approaches to the governance of issues such as cities and communities and infrastructure “

The Round Table looked at best practices and found that similar parliamentary systems like the United Kingdom’s have recognized that this challenge is so significant that the prime minister has effectively become the minister responsible for climate change.

Because Canada’s constitution has assigned the responsibility for energy to the Provinces, a highly collaborative approach between all governments in Canada will be an essential piece of any successful strategy to rise to the huge challenge that the rapid pace of change in the planet’s climate presents to our nation.

Other NRTEE recommendations include:

  • The Prime Minister should convene a First Minister’s Conference on Sustainable Energy.
  • Canada should strategically link climate change to other issues that reflect its interests and those of key partners, such as energy productivity and security, adaptation to climate change, and economic development.
  • Canada should broaden the terms of engagement with the United States and key developing countries, to capture opportunities for partnership and collaboration at the multilateral, bilateral and sub-national levels.
  • Canada should work with other countries to reform the operations of Kyoto’s Clean Development Mechanism.

In spring 2006, the NRTEE will deliver additional advice – also at the Prime Minister’s request – pertaining to a long-term climate change and energy strategy and the economic opportunities that it will create in clean energy, carbon trading and new technologies. This advice will complement the existing measures of the government’s current programs, called Project Green, by looking beyond the expiry of Kyoto in 2012 to see how Canada can achieve significant and sustained greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions.

The NRTEE, an independent federal agency, is dedicated to exploring new opportunities to integrate environmental conservation and economic development, in order to sustain Canada’s prosperity and secure its future.

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