Fderal minister for environment and climate change Catherine McKenna at the Canadian Wind Energy Association conference

While the Australian government continues to attack renewable energy and talk up the life of coal and gas, much to the horror of progressive nations around the world, the Canadian government is showing what climate action looks like.

Canada plans to have all federal government buildings powered by 100 per cent renewable energy by 2025. This adds to more than C$2billion slated for retrofits in the building sector.

The move mirrors strong commitments by Labor states and territories in Australia, and now the conservative NSW government with its commitment announced last week to reach zero emissions over the entire state by 2050, with $500 million in funding over the next five years to get there (including $200 million for energy efficiency).

Last week Canada got in the climate groove with federal minister for environment and climate change Catherine McKenna telling the Canadian Wind Energy Association in Calgary of the new commitment.

“As the world meets next week for the COP22 climate talks, Canada will have a chance to demonstrate the concrete steps we are taking to reduce greenhouse gases and lead the transition to a clean growth economy,” she said.

“We know that Canada’s tremendous renewable energy resources, like wind, must be a part of the plan.”

Canada’s president of the Treasury Board Scott Brison also last week said the government wanted to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent by 2030.

National Defence and Public Services and Procurement Canada – the principal landlord of the government – account for more than 75 per cent of all government greenhouse gas emissions, so it’s got some power in delivering on the commitment.

The Canadians will undertake strategic investments in infrastructure and vehicle fleets, green procurement and support for clean technology to achieve its goal.

CA$2.1 billion was allocated in the 2016 federal budget for repairs and retrofits of buildings and greening of government operations.

This includes upgrading heating and cooling plants at six facilities in the National Capital Region that provide services to more than 85 buildings and facilities, a move that is expected to reduce the plants’ combined emissions by more than 45 per cent.

A Centre for Greening Government is to be created at the Treasury Board that will track emissions and coordinate efforts across government.

“While the target is set for 2030, the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, along with federal departments and agencies, aspires to achieve this 40 per cent reduction as early as 2025,” Mr Brison said.

Low-carbon government is one of the key steps in the Trudeau government’s recently released Federal Sustainable Development Strategy 2016-19.

Other elements of the strategy include adopting building standards for all new government buildings and leases.

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