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Canada Lags In Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Canada Lags In Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions


American progressives have long looked north of the border longingly. However, when it comes to tackling climate change, that should no longer be the case, as a recent report by the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development indicates.

The report found that even if all the measures in the Canadian government’s climate change plan had been implemented and the total expected greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions achieved, it still would not have been enough to meet the Canadian government’s Kyoto Protocol target. The commitment requires Canada to reduce its GHG emissions to an average of six percent below 1990 levels during the Kyoto Protocol commitment period, from 2008 to 2012. In order to meet the target, GHG emissions would have to be reduced by an additional 805 million tons by 2012.

Under the Canadian government’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), the actual reductions for 2008 and 2009 were only six million tons. The government’s plan estimated that total emissions reductions for 2008 to 2012 would be 27 million tons. The plan does not meet the requirements of the 2011 Climate Change Plan for the Purposes of the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act because, as the report points out, the “measures it describes will not ensure that Canada meets its greenhouse gas emission reduction obligations. ”

The Canadian government will use a sector-by-sector approach to meet its target of reducing GHG emissions to 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, a target set internationally in the 2009 Copenhagen Accord. The report found that the sector-by-sector approach “lacks an overall implementation plan designed to achieve the 2020 target.”

In July 2011, Environment Canada released Canada’s Emissions Trends and it indicated that in 2020 the country’s GHG emissions will be 7.4 percent above 2005 levels instead of 17 percent below. The 2020 target, according to Environment Canada’s forecasts, will not be met with existing measures.

The Parliament passed the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act in 2007 to make sure that Canada would meet its commitments under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. Last year the Canadian government announced its withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol. However, the Act remains in effect as an Act of Parliament and the government must meet the obligations set out in that Act.

Canada’s Environment Minister Peter Kent responded to the report by defending the government’s actions to reduce GHG emissions. “Our government is working with its provincial, territorial and other partners to take decisive action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, ” Kent said in a statement.

Kent added that the government is “making significant progress” to reduce its GHG emission by 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 “through a sector-by-sector plan.” It makes you wonder if he actually read the report.

While Canada stalls on reducing its GHG emissions, the U.S. has yet to pass climate change legislation. Both countries can take a cue from their southern neighbor. Last month, Mexico passed a climate change law, making it the second country in the world after the U.K. to pass national climate legislation.


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Photo: Flickr user, alexindigo

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9:56AM PDT on May 21, 2012

No news here. Our fearless leader doesn't listen to anyone but his oil company buddies. There's not going to be anything positive on the GHG emissions file until he and the rest of his Conservative Party dinosaurs are voted out of office.

I'm counting the days until the next election and hoping enough of my fellow citizens see the light in time so we can get rid of these willfully ignorant morons.

4:49AM PDT on May 21, 2012

there may have been a time when...
now we are in the grips of the harper government
money makes the world go round
all else be damned

8:34PM PDT on May 18, 2012

Nice words and targets are all very well, but what is needed is concrete change.

5:59PM PDT on May 17, 2012

It seems to be the policy of the Canadian government to progress slowly backwards in all directions.

5:19PM PDT on May 17, 2012

thought the Canadians were better than us at this issue......sorry to see, but actually not news based on other articles i've seen on care2.....

12:52PM PDT on May 17, 2012

I am happy to live in the U.S.. TY...

12:21PM PDT on May 17, 2012

Not Surprised after al Harper is only out for his own agenda and its sure not for the people of our country or the enviroment

12:20PM PDT on May 17, 2012

Somebody needs to beta-test Global Thermostat's product. They claim to capture CO2 from ambient air using waste heat at somewhat less than the boiling point of water using the heat to dry mesh filters made of patent pending resin with sodium ions that absorbs CO2 when dry releases it when wet. The fail to quote a price.

12:15PM PDT on May 17, 2012

That's no surprise, their PM is a little Bush want-to-be.

11:58AM PDT on May 17, 2012

Shame on you Canada! :-(

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