climate change policy, jonathan wilkinson
© Oleg Mayorov

Here, Jonathan Miles discusses the climate change policy priorities of the recently appointed Minister of Environment and Climate Change in Canada

The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson was recently appointed Minister of Environment and Climate Change in Canada, replacing Catherine McKenna. Since 2015, he has served as Member of Parliament for North Vancouver. It’s interesting to note that the Minister has no less than 20 years’ experience in the private sector, where he held leadership roles with several firms devoted to developing green technologies.

Supporting climate negotiators from Africa

At COP25, the international climate conference, Minister Wilkinson took part in a meeting with francophone women climate negotiators from Africa. It is worth noting here that Canada funded seven of these negotiators so that their views on climate change can be heard at the negotiation tables. This approach ensures that the voices of women from developing countries are heard, and it is worth adding that in 2019, the country funded an extra $115,000 for training this particular group of people. Minister Wilkinson summed up this important element of climate change policy in Canada.

“It was a great pleasure to meet outstanding francophone women negotiators. Canada is pleased to support women’s climate action and participation in climate-related planning and policymaking, which are critical for successful global climate action, including achieving the objectives of the Paris Agreement.”2

The costs of a changing climate

Our attention is drawn to the costs of a changing climate that the Canadian people see all around them, such as record-breaking heatwaves, stronger storms and wildfires. Looking at the wider picture, we know that the Government of Canada is devoted to climate action that is ambitious while also ensuring that the from fuels from 2020 has been said to cut pollution and encourage innovation and while keeping life affordable for families in Canada. The carbon price will commence from 1st April 2020 at $30 per tonne once the relevant legislation has been passed.

“We’re seeing growing momentum for pricing pollution in Canada because it’s a cost-effective way to cut pollution and deliver clean growth.

We congratulate New Brunswick’s government for moving forward with an effective price on the carbon pollution from fuels throughout its economy,” commented Minister Wilkinson.3

Phasing out coal-fired electricity

Staying on the theme of climate change, we must mention here that one of the most vital actions that can be taken globally to combat climate change is to phase out coal-fired electricity. In support of this, in 2017, Canada and the United Kingdom co-founded the Powering Past Coal Alliance which aims to speed up the phasing out of traditional coal power. The Alliance believes it is important that governments support coal workers and their communities as they get ready for new jobs and opportunities, which is certainly true of Canada.

Minister Wilkinson recently welcomed six new members to the Alliance, as Canada is directing its climate finance investments to help developing countries on the road to a low-carbon and renewable energy sources.

The Minister said:

“The Powering Past Coal Alliance is making a significant difference in accelerating the global shift away from the most polluting form of power generation and doing so in a way that takes into account the legitimate economic concerns of citizens. We welcome the new members and look forward to their contributions to this important movement.”4

Minister Wilkinson’s climate change priorities

In closing, we can learn something about the climate change priorities of Minister Wilkinson in his Canada’s National Statement at COP25 on 10th December 2019. In October 2019, Canadians re-elected the government with “a mandate to take ambitious climate action” Minister Wilkinson said.

The Minister underlines that lives are being impacted by climate change and draws our attention to the forest fires that devastated Canada’s West in 2018. Minister Wilkinson also pointed out that Canada is warming at twice the global rate, and, in their North, it’s three times, according to Canadian scientists.

Let’s leave the closing words of the article with Minister Wilkinson himself who offers his thoughts on the importance of climate change in today’s world.

“Climate change is a defining issue of our time and the main reason why I entered politics. Before this, I ran clean-technology companies. I am optimistic about technology’s potential to help us make deep cuts to carbon emissions, carve new paths to prosperity, and create jobs. Canada is ready to be among the leaders in this global economic shift.”5


3 2019/12/newbrunswicks-government-to-put-a-price-on-carbon-pollution-from-fuels-next-year.html
4 2019/12/canada-welcomes-new-members-to-the-powering-pastcoal-alliance-at-cop25.html
5 2019/12/cop25.html


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