Canada Won’t Follow U.S., EU Lead on Greenhouse Gas Reductions
Prime Minister Stephen Harper is in no hurry to follow the United States’ lead on greenhouse gas emission targets, after years of claiming Canada couldn’t take action on climate change ahead of its biggest trading partner.
“It’s unlikely our targets will be exactly the same as the United States’,” Harper told media last week, although “they will be targets of similar levels of ambition to other major industrialized countries.”
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In the past, the Globe and Mail noted, Canada has “matched its targets with those set south of the border, a bar that was raised late last month when the U.S. said it would cut emissions by 26% to 28% by 2025, relative to 2005 levels, and is on track for an 80% cut by 2050.” Harper said Canada would need “additional regulatory measures going forward to achieve these targets,” but previously told the House of Commons it would be “crazy economic policy” to regulate fossil fuel emissions while oil prices are low.
Climate Action Network Executive Director Louise Comeau expressed concern that Canada would align its targets with countries like Japan, which is already signalling more modest climate goals.
On Friday, in an analysis of Environment Canada’s 2014 greenhouse gas inventory, the Pembina Institute confirmed that “Canada is nowhere near meeting its emissions target of 17% below 2005 levels by 2020. By contrast, the EU and U.S. are projected to meet or exceed their commitments and both are proposing more stringent targets beyond 2020.”
With the 2020 milestone for interim emissions reductions approaching, Pembina said the country’s carbon pollution is still increasing, and the tar sands/oil sands are one of the primary drivers.
“While the amount of greenhouse gas emissions per barrel of oil sands crude has decreased 28% since 1990, nearly all the gains were made before 2005,” writes Advisor Barend Dronkers. “Since then, emissions intensity has flat-lined while production is up 224%. Forecasts pinpoint a further 187% increase by 2020 based on 2014 trends.”