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Canadian Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna speaks during a news conference in Paris, France, on Nov. 29, 2015. Ms. McKenna acknowledged the effort that will be required from the Liberal government – and the country – to achieve the 2-degree-Celsius target set in the Paris agreement, let alone the lower figure endorsed by Canada.


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By Chris Hannay (@channay)

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On Saturday, the governments of 195 countries signed on to a new climate deal called the Paris Agreement. Here are the highlights:

> Countries committed to keeping the rise in global temperatures below two degrees, a level beyond which scientists think there could be catastrophic consequences. Countries set a 1.5-degree rise as an aspirational goal. (That aspiration was seen as a victory for small island nations.)

> Canada has pledged to, by 2030, cut its emissions by 30 per cent from 2005 levels. Emission reduction goals set by the 1997 Kyoto Protocol were not met.

> Specific emission reductions are not legally binding on nations, but the monitoring and reporting of emissions are. Countries are to meet every five years to review progress.

> Developed countries committed to spending at least $100-billion a year between 2020 and 2025 to help emerging economies deal with the effects of climate change.

> Countries are urged to save their remaining intact forests and leave fossil fuels in the ground.

> The Canadian energy industry is studying how the agreement will affect their bottom lines, but there is no indication it will have a greater impact than Alberta's new rules.

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> The federal government will now have to develop a climate strategy with the provinces while also moving on a North American plan.

For more, visit our roundup of the two-week summit.


> Here's how newly arrived refugees from Syria are getting a crash course in Canadian life.

> The Liberals may have to run deficits larger than $10-billion per year, and are now focusing on another, easier-to-reach fiscal target: lowering the debt-to-GDP ratio.

> Infrastructure spending plans will not be scaled back as the deficit grows, Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi says.

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> The final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is out tomorrow.

> Liberals are following Conservatives in banning cellphones from their weekly closed-door caucus meetings.

> And former Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty defends the high costs of the province's electricity system.


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"Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, the Representative for Children and Youth, has made a career of pointing to the chronic underfunding that leaves children and youth in government care without proper protection. The union representing social workers has provided its own evidence to show the system of care is unsuitable, understaffed and not adequately financed. Aboriginal leaders and the opposition New Democrats have also pressed for urgent change. A lot of gaps must be filled, perhaps more than the government is prepared to take on."

Justine Hunter (for subscribers) on B.C.'s likely commitment this week to at-risk youth.

Barrie McKenna (Globe and Mail): "British Columbia's Site C hydro dam, Ontario's Bruce nuclear plant and New England's Northern Pass transmission line all share a common enemy – environmentalists. As the world grapples with climate change, it's unfortunate that some of the most obvious and available alternatives to fossil fuels remain pariahs to some." (subscribers)

Anna Esselment and Paul Wilson (Globe and Mail): "The advent of a code has the potential to make a positive contribution to the nascent professionalism of the political staff role, and we are pleased to see one in place in Canada."

Jen Gerson (National Post): "There is a very simple way to fix this regulatory morass and stop the black market sale of reproductive tissue: simply acknowledge that there is a monetary value to a woman's tissue, risk, pain, and time."

Terry Milewski (CBC): "If Duffy's defence is right, the scandal lies not in what's illegal [in the Senate], but what's legal."

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