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McKenna Attributes Emissions Gap to Economic Growth, Says Canada Still Committed to Paris Target

Environment and Climate Change Canada/Flickr

Canada is still committed to meeting its carbon reduction targets under the Paris agreement, Environment and Climate Minister Catherine McKenna said this week, even though the gap between those targets and the country’s emissions trajectory has increased [1] from 44 to 66 megatonnes in the last 18 months.

“We’re absolutely committed to meeting our target,” McKenna told a cities and climate science conference in Edmonton. “We’re all in.”

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She attributed the wider gap to faster economic growth, and said Canada has plenty of time to catch up with its Paris promises. “It’s a 2030 target,” she said. “We’ve said this is a transition, and you don’t transition overnight.”

But “our economy is growing, and our projections are based on our economic growth. It just means that we need to be doing more. There’s huge opportunities that we haven’t built into our target.” Among those opportunities, she cited billions of federal dollars earmarked for public transit, new technologies to reduce carbon outputs from emissions-intensive industries, and reforestation.

“We need to figure out the opportunities,” she repeated. “We know that they’re huge.”

The Canadian Press notes that Kinder Morgan’s proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion “is widely expected to increase associated emissions,” but McKenna “said that has been taken into account.” When they released the revised projection in December, Environment and Climate Change Canada officials attributed the rising emissions projections to population growth and increased output from the country’s fossil industries.