The World Comes to Montreal to Reverse a Rise in Species Extinction

After a two-year delay due to the pandemic, government delegations from around the world have gathered in Montreal to try to reach a 10-year agreement to reduce biodiversity loss, according to a United Nations pact. The country is called the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Before the meeting, my colleagues Catrin Einhorn and Lauren Leatherby prepared a picture-rich paper that presented what was at stake. And Catrin, who will be in Montreal to cover the meeting, also spoke with Climate Forward’s Manuela Andreoni about the meeting, commonly known as COP 15.

[Read: Animals Are Running Out of Places to Live]

[Read: Can We Save Nature?]

During the second day of the conference, I was part of a group of six journalists who met Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Steven Guilbeault, the environment and climate change minister. Here are some excerpts, edited for clarity and length, from that interview.

At the beginning of the conference, Canada announced that it would spend 800 million Canadian dollars to develop four new types of engines. Indigenous reserve. I asked Mr. Trudeau how the government can deal with Indigenous communities that have a rift between members who recognize traditional leaders and those who support elected band councils. development and environmental issues:

Justin Trudeau: Understanding that we need different things for different situations is the best we can do and, frankly, more challenging from the policy level. But in the end, that’s the only way it really turns the colonial approach we’ve all inherited on top of it and puts them back in control a little more.

As for who is speaking for them and who is in control: It’s not up to us to decide. There are a number of communities that have resolved the question of ceremonial versus political power. There are others who are still a bit discussing its true meaning. I think we just need to help and patiently encourage them to determine what is right for them. And the question of Coastal gas pipeline and Wet’suwet’en are a clear example of conflict between hereditary chiefs and elected chiefs.

We must try to help them solve this problem at their own pace and in their own way. And that sometimes means taking a step back and giving them space to be able to do that.

Regarding the potential conflict between developing mineral deposits needed to reduce carbon emissions and maintain natural habitats:

Justin Trudeau: We might say, “OK, lithium is too messy to mine. We will not exploit it anymore.” But then we just accept that China will export lithium to the world and other places will not follow any of the environmental restrictions that we will put in place.

Then you have to ask: Is there a market for lithium mined in Alberta with better environmental standards, better labor standards than in many other parts of the world? Is it something that will be more expensive, still something that will reach the market?

What we are seeing from partners around the world is that having a reliable source of these important minerals, even if it is more expensive because it is done properly and responsibly, is totally worth it — there’s a market.

On whether Canada plans to protect 30% of its land over the next 30 years, a goal the country is pushing at the conference, is relevant:

Justin Trudeau: The framing “You are saying you are doing this, but it is not enough” is the reality of any progressive government. No matter what we begin to do, there is always more to do and we must embrace that.

Canada always has a lot of plans, a lot of goals. But actually doing it and getting motivated in the right direction is a challenge.

So it’s always trying to find a time when you can bring everyone along. Like, for years, we’ve talked about climate change as a challenge. Yes, but it’s also an opportunity. No one feels the opportunity. They just feel challenged.

But now we’re starting to see an opportunity, whether it’s vital minerals, batteries or hydrogen deal with Germany – there are many things. Now we have industry that comes to us and asks about the price of carbon: How do we make sure it stays? Because if we’re going to make these investments, which we’re doing, it has to really hold up. And if some other government comes along and gets rid of it, we’re in big trouble.

A native of Windsor, Ontario, Ian Austen was educated in Toronto, lives in Ottawa and has covered Canada for The New York Times for the past 16 years. Follow him on Twitter at @ianrausten.

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