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Toronto, Friday, December 11th 2020 – The Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE), Canada’s leading voice in planetary health, applauds the Canadian government for the release today of a climate plan intended to exceed current 2030 targets, as is needed for alignment with our global responsibilities.
“The choices made in this plan will impact our health, our economy, and our future,” says Dr. Joe Vipond, CAPE Board President and emergency physician in Calgary.
CAPE supports the government’s plan to increase the carbon price through to 2030 while returning proceeds back to Canadians so that the majority of households will continue to be better off. “Continuing to increase the carbon price over the coming decade will lead to cleaner air through incentivizing more efficient vehicles, electric vehicles, transit use, cycling, and walking,” says Robin Edger, Executive Director and CEO of CAPE.
CAPE supports the government’s planned investments in a clean electricity grid. “We are excited that the government has laid out a plan to make the necessary investments in renewable energy production and grid modernization. This plan will put the country on track for 90% non-emitting electricity generation by 2030 and support the well-being of workers by creating clean energy jobs,” says Edger. “We have been advocating for this type of investment and we are pleased the government has responded.
However, CAPE is disappointed at the government’s continued focus on investing in nuclear small modular reactors (SMRs). “Nuclear reactors are not a viable climate solution,” says Dr. Claudel Petrin-Desrosiers, CAPE Board Member and Chair of the Quebec regional chapter. “Nuclear energy creates nuclear waste that will stay with us for generations, while being more expensive and slower to build than renewables.”
The World Health Organization has called climate change the greatest threat to global health in the 21st century. Climate change is already harming Canadians’ health, causing increases in extreme weather events, heat stroke, cardiorespiratory issues, and Lyme disease.
Not only will acting on climate change avoid the worst of these impacts, emissions reductions will also improve our air quality. Air pollution is closely linked to asthma (especially in children), lung cancer, and other respiratory illnesses, as well as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, other cancers, and depression.
CAPE recently released a report containing new data that illustrate the health and economic benefits of confronting climate change. It shows that if Canada meets its emissions targets, we will save an estimated 112,000 lives between 2030 and 2050 through reductions in air pollution alone.
“We applaud the government’s recognition of the enormous economic benefit to addressing climate change. We urge that these investments be tied to job standards ensuring they are well-paid and support the wellbeing of workers,” says Dr. Vipond. “We are also pleased to see that the government is investing further in a clean energy transition for Indigenous and rural communities. This transition must be led locally and fully funded. This plan must not leave anyone out of a healthy, just and sustainable future.”
“As an ER physician, I know an emergency when I see one. The federal government now has a plan to build a better, healthier, and more prosperous Canada and address the climate emergency,” says Dr. Vipond. “We will continue to hold our political leaders accountable to make this vision our reality.”
Executive Director & CEO, Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment
416-677-9712 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Joe Vipond
Board President, Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment
403-510-9236 | email@example.com