Catherine McKenna is Minister for the Environment and Climate Change
This week, we marked the two-year anniversary of the Paris climate accord with big news. The Powering Past Coal Alliance, which was recently launched by Britain and Canada as a global effort to phase out coal-fired electricity, grew to more than 50 members, including 33 countries and 24 businesses.
But while momentum is clearly building to end pollution from burning coal, a change of that magnitude takes time. As environmental organizations reported this week, some Canadian companies are among those investing to expand coal power overseas.
While companies are responsible for their own decisions, this news does not represent the growing trend worldwide. Many other companies and investors are moving in the opposite direction. They see opportunities not in the expansion of coal burning – which is a hazard to our health and a driver of climate change – but in the economic opportunity of clean growth.
Major corporations such as Facebook, Google and Wal-Mart are all part of RE100, a global initiative that commits companies to move toward 100-per-cent renewable energy. One of these companies, Salesforce, had plans to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, but through rigorous innovation has already reached its goal.
There was also the announcement that 237 other companies – with a combined market capitalization of $6.3-trillion – publicly supported the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures.