Canada sets new greenhouse gas reduction target; critics call it weak

Canada has set a new greenhouse gas emission reduction target as it prepares for international talks later this year, but critics say the goal is the weakest among G-7 countries.

WINNIPEG — Canada has set a new greenhouse gas emission reduction target as it prepares for international talks later this year, but critics say the goal is the weakest among G-7 countries.

Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq said Friday that Canada proposes to cut emissions to 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 — a target she called “fair and ambitious.”

Speaking in Winnipeg, Aglukkaq promised to introduce new regulations on methane emissions produced by the oil and gas industry. There will also be new rules for natural gas-fired power generation and for the chemical and nitrogen fertilizer industries.

“This target is … an ambitious commitment based on our national circumstances, which include a growing population, a diversified, growing economy and Canada’s position as a world leader in clean electricity generation.”

The target is slightly weaker than that of the United States, which has pledged to cut its greenhouse emissions by up to 28 per cent from 2005 levels by 2025.

Canada, the U.S. and other countries are taking their targets to a United Nations conference later this year in Paris, where a new international emissions regime is to be negotiated.

Environmental groups said Canada’s target is anything but ambitious.

“The European Union, already with per-capita emissions well below Canada’s, has a 40 per cent reduction target for 2030 — more than five times greater than Canada’s,” the group Environmental Defence said in a statement.

“To keep our people, communities and economy safe requires that Canada join the global community in making deep cuts to carbon pollution by shifting away from burning coal, oil and gas,” read a statement from the Climate Action Network.

The federal environment critic for the NDP, Megan Leslie, said the plan to regulate methane emissions in the energy sector does not go far enough.

“If we’re going to see a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, we need a hard cap on emissions in the oil and gas sector,” she said in Ottawa.

Canada might also buy international credits to meet its targets — something that would be a change from long-standing policy. That system would see Canada get deductions from its counted emissions by investing in environmentally friendly projects in other countries.

The documents submitted by the federal government to the UN say “Canada may use international mechanisms to achieve its 2030 target”. Aglukkaq refused to clarify the matter.

“Thank you for coming. Today’s announcement is about the 30 per cent reduction,” she said in declining to answer a reporter’s question on the issue.

Whether Canada will even be able to meet its new targets is an open question.

Despite a previous promise to cut emissions 17 per cent below 2005 levels by 2020, Environment Canada reported last month that national greenhouse gas emissions rose between 2012 and 2013 to 726 megatonnes, the fourth consecutive annual increase.

Even if the target is met, it might not be enough.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world’s chief scientific body on the issue, has said that worldwide greenhouse gas emissions must be cut by between 25 and 40 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020 if the world wants to avoid the worst implications of global warming.

Just Posted

Alberta energy war room must avoid online morass, preaching to choir: experts

CALGARY — Tzeporah Berman only learned of her cameo appearance at an… Continue reading

Two dead, including one who police believe was a child, in Alberta house fire

PLAMONDON, Alta. — Two people, including one who police believe was a… Continue reading

CSIS destroyed secret file on Pierre Trudeau, stunning historians

OTTAWA — Canada’s spy service destroyed a Cold War dossier on Pierre… Continue reading

Premier refuses to back down on plan to scrap 18,000 immigration applications

Quebec Premier Francois Legault is holding firm on his plan to scrap… Continue reading

Pro-pipelines rally draws crowd to City Hall

Canadian Taxpayers Federation says Canada missing out on billions in revenue

Federal cabinet decision on fate of Trans Mountain pipeline due Tuesday

OTTAWA — The Liberal government’s $4.5 billion gamble to buy the Trans… Continue reading

Skier, 22 dies after fall on Mount Haig near Castle Mountain Ski Resort

PINCHER CREEK, Alta. — RCMP from the Pincher Creek, Alta., detachment are… Continue reading

4 years in, Trump fondly recalls Trump Tower campaign launch

NEW YORK — It was the escalator ride that would change history.… Continue reading

Massive protests draw apology from Hong Kong leadership

Hong Kong citizens marched for hours Sunday in a massive protest that… Continue reading

Butterfly garden keeper manages to film large tarantula shedding exoskeleton

VICTORIA — A 20-centimetre tarantula capable of killing a bird has been… Continue reading

Telegraph-Journal wins 2018 Michener Award recognizing public-service journalism

OTTAWA — The Telegraph-Journal in New Brunswick has been named the winner… Continue reading

Victorious Raptors cancel their return to Toronto after becoming NBA champs

TORONTO — Some Raptors players returned to Toronto on Saturday night for… Continue reading

How a Montreal working-class neighbourhood’s activists changed Quebec and Canada

MONTREAL — The Pointe-St-Charles neighbourhood is isolated from the rest of Montreal… Continue reading

Most Read