‘Canada is Back’—With Harper’s Climate Targets
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government will not advance the country’s greenhouse gas reduction targets beyond those already set by former PM Stephen Harper’s Conservatives, Le Devoir reports.
Those targets envision Canadian emissions in 2030 that are 30% lower than they were in 2005. When they were announced in May 2015, the then-opposition Liberal Party derided them as too low, Le Devoir recalls. Notwithstanding that judgement then, Trudeau will not propose changing the goals when he next meets his provincial/territorial counterparts in November, the paper reports.
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The rationale, according to sources in government who spoke to Le Devoir on condition of anonymity, is that the previous government set goals, but did not put in place sufficiently effective measures to meet them. As a result, Canadian emissions continued to climb, reaching 732 megatonnes in 2014, the last year for which Environment and Climate Change Canada has released figures. That is roughly 18% higher than the current emissions goal of 622 MT for 2020, and 40% above the 524-MT target for 2030.
“It’s necessary first to have a credible plan to reach the [existing] goals, before moving on to the next stage,” one official explained to Le Devoir. “Once there is that plan, one can address setting new targets.”
Non-government climate activists condemned the laissez-faire decision.
Patrick Bonin, Quebec director with Greenpeace Canada, said Ottawa must not choose the “lowest common denominator” as an option. “The role of the federal government is to make sure Canada respects the Paris Accord,” Bonn said in a statement. “It needs to start by setting goals for greenhouse gas reduction that are in line with the science—and more ambitious than those that Harper adopted.”