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Guest Blog: O Canada! A View from the North

by the Consulate General of Canada in Los Angeles

Nevadans understand, as few people do, what a bold future for renewable energy looks like. 

And what it looks like is an 800,000 square-foot, solar-paneled battery factory outside Reno – Tesla’s Gigafactory. That plant, which will someday become the world’s second largest building, will not only produce the power supply for an emissions-free future, it will run on it, too. 

So Nevadans might also recognize the audacious vision of America’s neighbor to the north.

From the day that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was sworn in in November, Canada made a priority of world leadership and next-generation investments to address climate change, protect the environment and transition to a clean-energy economy.

Barely a month into his term, the Prime Minister signalled a new era in Canada’s global engagement by signing the Paris Agreement. Then he made history by pledging $2.65 billion by 2020 to help developing countries tackle global warming – and followed that up by announcing Canada’s participation in Mission Innovation and doubling the government’s investment in clean energy R&D.

Canada is now also active on other major global initiatives like the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition, the Green Climate Fund, as well as the G7’s Initiatives on African Renewable Energy and Climate Risk Insurance.

Of course, global progress will require major action at home, too.

Canada already leads G7 countries by drawing two-thirds of its electricity from renewable sources. The province of Quebec is part of California’s cap-and-trade program, and Ontario and Manitoba plan to join, as well. But the urgency of climate change demands new leaps forward.

That’s why the federal budget this spring set aside $5 billion over 5 years to green Canada’s infrastructure and $2 billion to transition to protect the environment and transition to a green economy.

These commitments will help transform traditional sectors – like a new infrastructure for electric and alternative-fuel vehicles – and open up entire new industries. It’s already happening.

Outside of Vancouver, a Canadian company is pulling CO2 from the air and turning it into a fuel that can replace gasoline.

Just south of Calgary, a community is heating its homes by collecting solar energy – yes, we do get sunshine in Canada –  storing it underground, and drawing on it as needed.

And in Winnipeg, entrepreneurs are providing curbside solar-powered charging stations where passersby can charge up their smartphone and mobile devices.

A sustainable future requires sustained investment – so Canada is lining up major private sector investments to underwrite clean energy R&D.

Canada’s vision is long-term, but the action it’s taking is immediate. Six months into his term, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government has demonstrated at home and across the globe that Canada is ready to lead in bringing about progress toward a cleaner and greener environment.

 

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