Statement from Minister Yurek following the United Nations' Climate Change Conference
MADRID — Following successful meetings with other Canadian Ministers and international leaders at the 25th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations' Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 25), Jeff Yurek, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, issued the following statement:
"I would like to thank the representatives from Chile and Spain for hosting this year's conference. COP 25 was a great opportunity for Ontario to demonstrate its leadership in protecting the environment and phasing out coal, while engaging in meaningful dialogue about climate change action with other jurisdictions and organizations.
I had the opportunity to join Patricia Fuller, Canada's Ambassador for Climate Change, to provide remarks about Ontario's successful initiative to phase out coal and transform our energy mix. This initiative made Ontario the first North American jurisdiction with a significant reliance on coal to cease coal-fired power generation. It was one of the largest completed actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in North America - resulting in a total annual reduction of up to 30 megatonnes. This action also contributed to reducing our smog days from a peak of 53 in 2005 to zero in 2017.
Throughout the week, I met with my provincial and American counterparts and industry leaders to discuss our coordinated efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and share ideas on initiatives to help deliver on commitments under the Paris Agreement. I also met with Canadian youth delegates to learn more about their ideas on how we can protect the environment now and for future generations, and to discuss how government can further engage youth as we work to bring forward innovative solutions to address climate change.
Ontario leads Canada in greenhouse gas reductions. Our government is committed to continuing to do our part to help Canada meet its target to reduce emissions to 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. Our ambitious Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan outlines actions to reduce emissions, help communities and families prepare for climate change and encourage all Ontarians to take meaningful action to protect and preserve our natural environment.
I leave Spain looking forward to continued unity and cooperation with our partner jurisdictions. Climate change is a global issue that extends beyond all borders. Through collaboration with national and international leaders, we will continue to fight global climate change and find effective and affordable ways to protect our environment and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while ensuring Ontario maintains both a healthy environment and a healthy economy."