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Biden’s executive orders kick off a new era of U.S. climate action. Canada should be ready

VICTORIA — Merran Smith, executive director at Clean Energy Canada, made the following statement in response to U.S. President Joe Biden’s new executive actions on climate: 

“The Biden administration put climate change at the centre of its campaign promise, and only a week after President Biden’s inauguration, his administration is delivering.

“Tackling the climate crisis requires all hands on deck. Recognizing this, Biden is introducing an ‘all of government approach’ by bringing together leaders from across 21 federal agencies, alongside a new White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy to lead the charge.

“This includes procuring only clean electricity for government departments, a step toward Biden’s campaign promise of running the entire country on clean electricity by 2035, as well as directing federal agencies to only buy zero-emission vehicles for their 645,000-strong fleet. 

“Following the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline last week, today’s orders also pause new oil and gas leases on public lands and waters, while instructing federal agencies to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies. The signal couldn’t be clearer: the new America wants less fossil fuel and more clean energy and low-carbon goods.

“This new agenda is an opportunity for Canada. We have plenty of clean power, which we already sell to California, New England and Minnesota, and we have the right natural resources. Canadian aluminium, a metal used in vehicle production, is the lowest-carbon in the world, while our cleantech sector is already making waves abroad.

“Canada is starting from a strong position, but the race is on, and we could still fall behind if we don’t act and ensure our sectors and exports are among the cleanest in the world. Our competition is stiff. The EU, China, South Korea: all are investing billions in clean products and resources that America, the biggest economy in the world, will need a lot more of.

“With a shared border and plenty of advantages in Canada’s favour, it’s our race to lose.”

KEY FACTS

  • President Biden has announced a number of executive actions on climate change.
  • The U.S. federal fleet consists of over 645,000 vehicles, with 225,000 post office vehicles alone.
  • Two out of three Canadians (66%) believe that President Biden will follow through on his promise to make climate change a major priority, while three out of four (77%) want Canada “to move our economy at a similar pace towards clean energy so we don’t become uncompetitive with the U.S. economy,” according to a recent poll by Clean Energy Canada and Abacus Data.
  • President Biden has promised to spend US$2 trillion over four years creating a cleaner economy while ensuring the U.S. reaches net-zero emissions by 2050.
  • The EU has dedicated 30% of its historic stimulus package for the clean economy, or more than half a trillion euros for green purposes over seven years. 

RESOURCES

Op-ed | Forget Keystone—Canada needs a cross-border clean energy economy(National Observer)

Report | Taking the Wheel

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