Catherine McKenna to Chair UN Panel on Progress on Climate Change at Local and Corporate Levels


The UN chief announced on Thursday the appointment of an expert panel led by Catherine McKenna, Canada’s former environment minister, who will examine whether corporate efforts to curb climate change are credible or fail. they are just “green bleaching”.

McKenna, who served as Minister for Environment and Climate Change from 2015 to 2019, will chair the panel.

Recent years have seen an explosion of pledges by companies – including oil companies – to cut their greenhouse gas emissions to “net zero” as consumers expect companies to shoulder some of the burden pollution reduction. But environmental activists say many of these plans are unclear at best, at worst designed to make the companies look good when they are actually fueling global warming.

“Governments bear the lion’s share of the responsibility to achieve net zero emissions by mid-century,” said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

This is especially true for the major emerging and industrialized G20 economies which account for 80% of greenhouse gas emissions, he said.

“But we also urgently need every company, investor, city, state and region to follow through on their net zero pledges,” he said.

Recommendations expected before the end of the year

The 16-member panel will make recommendations before the end of the year on standards and definitions for setting net zero targets, how to measure and verify progress, and ways to translate them into international and national regulations.

In addition to looking at net zero commitments from the private sector, the panel will also look at commitments made by local and regional governments that do not report directly to the UN.

“Each commitment must provide ambitious, real and immediate reductions in a transparent and verifiable manner,” McKenna said in a social media post Thursday.

McKenna, 50, represented the Liberal Party in the riding of Ottawa Centre. After a cabinet reshuffle in 2019, she served as minister of infrastructure and communities, before deciding to step down from federal politics ahead of last year’s election.

“Like a lot of Canadians in the pandemic, which has been very long and difficult, I thought about what was really important to me, and that’s my kids and that’s climate change,” she said. to CBC News last year to explain the decision.

LISTEN: McKenna talks climate change with CBC’s Front Burner ahead of the 2021 election:

front burner24:43Have the liberals met the moment of climate change?

The Liberal government has been criticized for not doing enough on the climate crisis. Former Environment Minister and current Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna defends her party’s actions on the issue and explains why she believes Canada is on track to meet its emissions targets. 24:43

She has often spoken about how bold corporate climate commitments with timelines in the future need to be matched with detailed plans and specific targets along the way.

“We need to attract billions of dollars from the private sector to help build the infrastructure we need, low-carbon infrastructure,” she said in the same interview.

McKenna previously worked with the UN, as a negotiator on a mission to East Timor before entering electoral politics.

New IPCC report available next week

A recent report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change revealed that more than three billion people around the world are already at risk from global warming.

The expert group will publish another report early next week which is expected to confirm that the world is not on track to meet the target of capping temperature rise at 1.5°C d end of the century, which was set in the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

“If we don’t see meaningful and sustained emission reductions in this decade, the window of opportunity to keep 1.5 alive will be closed – forever,” said António Guterres. “And it will be a disaster for everyone.”

The UN panel also includes Mary Nichols, California’s former secretary of natural resources, who helped lead that state’s leading work in the United States on set fuel economy standards for automobiles. Other names include prominent Australian climate scientist Bill Hare, South Africa-based sustainable finance expert Malango Mughogho and longtime former governor of the People’s Bank of China Zhou Xiaochuan.