Federal report says Canadians ‘doubtful’ on hitting emissions targets

OTTAWA — The federal government was told just before the fall election campaign that many Canadians didn’t believe the country will meet targets for reducing its greenhouse-gas emissions.

Public-opinion research conducted on behalf of the Privy Council Office showed that most participants in the spring survey were “doubtful” Canada would reach its targets, with the rest “uncertain, or hopeful but not optimistic.”

Among the reasons people gave for believing Canada would fall short were the cost to the economy to do so, including job losses in sectors like oil and gas, and “political will.”

Under the Paris climate-change agreement, the Trudeau Liberals agreed to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions to a level 30 per cent below what they were in 2005 and to do it by 2030.

The polling report delivered in mid-August and made public in recent days suggested that participants wanted the government to at least try to meet the 2030 target even if efforts were doomed.

Last week, the Liberals said Canada’s emissions are forecast to be 227 million tonnes below what was projected in 2015, which would be 77 million tonnes short of the target Canada committed to under the Paris pact.

During the federal election campaign, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau vowed to boost efforts so Canada would exceed its 2030 goal and then achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Among the measures the Liberals proposed was funding the planting of two billion trees, cutting energy waste and supporting zero-emissions clean tech companies — none of which were included in the updated forecasts released on the Friday before Christmas.

A key measure the Liberals have touted in their plan is the federal carbon price. Participants in the survey said they believed that the Liberals’ carbon tax had increased the cost of gas, food and home heating, and will eventually drive up costs for travel, public transit and consumer goods transported over long distances.

The Liberals say the carbon tax is designed to change habits so individuals reduce their own carbon footprints, and the report suggests this is happening to an extent.

Some participants told interviews they have opted to drive more fuel-efficient vehicles, be more strategic in running errands to limit car use, opt for public transit more or work more often from home. Others told interviewers they expect to drive less eventually, while the remainder said “they have no option but to drive as much as they do.”

Any funding collected through the carbon tax is returned through rebates at tax time, but most participants in the research believed they would receive less than what they paid.

That belief didn’t change when interviewers presented them with a parliamentary budget office report saying 80 per cent of tax filers will receive more in rebates than they pay in carbon fees.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Community art project will thank front line workers

Red Deerians are painting hearts to say thank you to frontline workers.… Continue reading

Vaping persists amongst Canadian youth

New survey into vaping habits of youth

UPDATED: Red Deer has nine active COVID-19 cases

Number of cases increased by 107 Friday

Wetaskiwin RCMP make arrests for Hit and Run to residence

Damage estimates are expected to be in excess of $20,000.

Former prime minister John Turner dead at 91

TORONTO — Former prime minister John Turner, whose odyssey from a “Liberal… Continue reading

Hay’s Daze: Happy to be left out of the picture

Talk about being out of the loop. Head in the sand. Uninformed,… Continue reading

O’Toole, Blanchet both test positive for COVID-19 Friday, remain in isolation

OTTAWA — Conservative leader Erin O’Toole has tested positive for COVID-19. O’Toole… Continue reading

COVID-19 task force worries Trump’s rush to approve vaccine will spook Canadians

OTTAWA — Members of the federal government’s COVID-19 vaccine task force are… Continue reading

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

VANCOUVER — Health care workers in Canada made up about 20 per… Continue reading

Hurricane Teddy remains on track for Atlantic Canada, expected as tropical storm

HALIFAX — Hurricane Teddy remains on track to pass through wide areas… Continue reading

Trump to Senate: Vote ‘without delay’ on his high court pick

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Saturday urged the Republican-run Senate to… Continue reading

Most Read