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Catherine McKenna

July 8, 2022 by Speakers' Spotlight

The Hon. Catherine McKenna on Climate Change: “We’re All in This Together”

Climate change is one of the biggest challenges humans face today. In March 2022, the Honourable Catherine McKenna was appointed chair of the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Expert Group on Net-Zero Commitments of Non-State Entities. This group is tasked with helping organizations “walk the talk on their net-zero promises”.

Catherine was the Minister of Environment and Climate Change from 2015-2019. Today, she is the founder and principal of Climate and Nature Solutions, an organization that works with governments, not-for profits, academia, and the private sector to scale practical climate and nature-based solutions.

As the chair of the UN’s 18-member panel, Catherine is assessing companies’ efforts to curb climate change by developing stronger, clearer standards and criteria for measuring their commitments and efforts to reach net-zero by 2050.

This goal was adopted under the landmark 2015 Paris Climate Agreement — in which Catherine was a lead negotiator — where countries agreed to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius to avoid the worst climate impacts and maintain a livable planet.

While governments hold the most responsibility in reaching this goal, Catherine said in a Q&A with the UN, we all have a part to play. The UN set up this panel to help non-state actors (i.e., banks, investors, companies, cities, regions, etc.) reach their goals and not just engage in “greenwashing” — all talk and no substance.

To limit global warming, the UN has said that greenhouse gas emissions must first stop rising and then fall rapidly, decreasing 45% by 2030 in order to reach net-zero by 2050. This means cutting emissions to as close to zero as possible to ensure the remaining emissions can be reabsorbed by the world’s carbon sinks, such as the ocean and forests.

Transitioning to a net-zero world requires a complete transition of how we produce, consume, and move around. The good new is, Catherine said, we know the solutions and now it’s a matter of taking action.

“We can tackle climate change, we just have to change how we look at things,” Catherine said. “We have to stop looking at it as a 2050 problem. And we can do this. It’s not just about me, it’s not just about our task-force, it’s not just about the Secretary-General, it’s about everyone recognizing that we’re all in this together.”

Catherine is dedicated to ensuring a sustainable planet for future generations. In her informative and dynamic keynotes, she shows organizations and individual’s how to take action today to stop climate change from advancing and work together in building a sustainable future for our planet.

Hear more from Catherine in the video below and learn how each of us as individuals and as part of a global community can take action against climate change today:

Interested in learning more about Catherine and what she can bring to your next event as a keynote speaker? Email us at [email protected].