(TORONTO, ON) – Ontario officially opened the Climate Summit of the Americas and welcomed more than 300 delegates from 20 states and regions who will work towards commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and discuss opportunities to invest in a global low carbon economy. The 20 states and regions attending the summit have a combined GDP of $6.6 trillion.
The summit signals growing Pan-American consensus on the urgency of fighting climate change ahead of the United Nations’ Conference of the Parties in Paris later this year.
Jurisdictions participating in the summit will build on recent international successes in fighting climate change and will encourage national governments to take stronger action to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.
Notable keynote speakers at the summit include:
- Al Gore, former U.S. vice-president and Nobel laureate
- Jerry Brown, Governor of California
- Felipe Calderón, chair of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate
- Philippe Couillard, Premier of Quebec
“California and Ontario are working hand-in-hand to pave the road to Paris by convening states and provinces committed to doing their part,” said Governor Brown. “This is a call to arms in the fight against climate change and the Climate Summit of the Americas is another step forward.”
Ontario, Quebec, and California also took another step towards expanding North America’s largest carbon market following Ontario’s commitment to introduce a cap and trade program. The three jurisdictions are exploring opportunities for creating a linked cap and trade program to limit greenhouse gas pollution and forge a strong, prosperous, low-carbon future for North America.
“Quebec and California have been leaders in the development of the carbon market and Ontario is also putting a limit on the main sources of greenhouse gas pollution through a cap and trade system,” said Philippe Couillard, Premier ministre du Québec. “With the concerted efforts of all federated states we will achieve concrete results in the fight against climate change.”
The Climate Summit of the Americas builds on the action that Ontario has already taken against climate change including setting a 2030 mid-term target for greenhouse gas pollution reduction, ending coal-fired electricity generation, and electrifying and improving Ontario’s commuter rail network.
Ontario’s actions to close coal-fired electricity plants, electrify and improve the province’s commuter rail network, curb the use of cosmetic pesticides, and protect 1.8-million acres of land have resulted in fewer smog days and cleaner water.