Trudeau urges nations to make Paris climate deal 'reality' in French parliament speech

Gérard Julien, AFP | French lawmakers applaud as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivers a speech at the French National Assembly in Paris, on April 17, 2018, as part of his two-day official visit to France.

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in the first address to France’s parliament by a Canadian leader, called on the signatories of the 2015 Paris climate accord to ensure the landmark deal became a “reality”.


Trudeau, one of just a handful of foreign leaders given the honour of a parliament speech since 1958, said the risks presented by global warming could be tackled only by global action an implicit dig at US President Donald Trump’s move to withdraw from the deal.

The individual commitments by more than 190 nations under the Paris Agreement are aimed at limiting the warming of the planet to between 3.6 and 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit (two and three degrees Celsius).

“It’s up to us to make this accord in principle a reality,” Trudeau said in a speech that earned several standing ovations.

“Our two countries are united in their ambitions for fighting climate change, even as we pursue sustainable growth for our economies,” Trudeau said on the last day of his two-day visit to France.

“On both sides of the Atlantic we are making unprecedented investments in clean technologies and green infrastructure, stimulating growth and creating good middle-class jobs,” he said.

“It’s up to us to seize the many possibilities for business and jobs offered in a carbon-light economy.”

But Trudeau has drawn fire from ecologists at home for backing the Trans Mountain oil pipeline from Alberta’s oil sands to the Pacific Ocean, a controversy that forced him to cut short a trip to Peru last week.

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In an interview with French media before his visit, Trudeau defended his support of the pipeline, saying “we cannot choose between what is good for the environment and good for the economy.”

‘New era’

Trudeau also touted Canada’s historic business ties with France, saying a recently agreed trade deal between Canada and the EU showed that business could go hand-in-hand with “social and environmental progress.”

The CETA deal “goes further than any other trade deal in the world,” he said, citing “the protection of personal rights, the environment and citizen mobility.”

The accord has been applied provisionally since late last year, and still must be ratified by EU member states some French lawmakers have already warned they won’t support the deal.

But Trudeau appeared undeterred. “Let’s ask a question,” he told parliament. “If France can’t ratify a free-trade accord with Canada, with what other country could you do it?”

“It maintains the rights of nations to legislate and regulate in the public interest, to implement policies that protect their cultural industries and labour rights,” he said.

The CETA deal had already bolstered French exports to Canada by four percent since last September, Trudeau said, with increases of up to eight percent for agriculture and food products.

Canadian investments in France, meanwhile, jumped 23 percent last year.

“All these examples highlight a single reality: trade, when it is properly regulated, benefits the greatest number of people,” he said.

“CETA is simply the starting point for a new era of cooperation and integration.”


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