There are many news events going on in Ottawa on a weekly basis, meaning that some events may be overlooked when the revelations of a Facebook data breach consume most media headlines.
One of the overlooked events this past week may have been the release of the Perspectives on Climate Change Action in Canada report.
This report basically audits and summarizes how well Canada is doing at meeting our goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). Before I go further, here’s some background information on this topic summarized from my Sept. 22, 2016 MP Report.
Shortly after the 2015 federal election Prime Minister Trudeau sent the largest Canadian delegation in history to attend the Paris Climate Change Conference, at a cost in excess of $1 million dollars.
While at the Paris conference, the Liberal Government made several comments in support of increasing GHG reduction targets while criticizing the record of the former Conservative Government.
Despite this criticism, the Liberal Government announced it would adopt the very same GHG reduction targets that were set by the previous Government under Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
For added context:
In 1993, former Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chretien promised to reduce our GHG emissions to 20 per cent below 1988 levels by 2005. This promise was broken. In 1997, Chretien signed the Kyoto accord to reduce our emissions by a smaller amount of six per cent below 1990 levels that would be achieved by 2012.
In 2006, when the Liberals were voted out of office, Canada was 30 per cent over that target and as a result, Mr. Harper eventually withdrew Canada from the Kyoto agreement that had set binding targets.
In 2009, at the Copenhagen climate conference, Mr. Harper matched the U.S. target to cut GHG emissions by 17 per cent below 2005 levels by 2020 and 30 per cent by 2013 in what is a non-binding agreement.
These remain the exact targets being used the Trudeau Liberal Government. This leads to the question how are we doing today? A question that was looked at by the Perspectives on Climate Change Action in Canada audit report.
The answer? From my perspective, not well.
To quote the report directly “Canada is not expected to meet its 2020 target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”
CBC also reported “As of 2015, the most recent year for which full statistics are available, Canada was nearly 200 million tonnes short of that goal, which is the equivalent of the emissions produced by about 44 million cars each year. That is twice the number of vehicles registered in Canada.”
The audit found that only five provinces and one territory even have a 2020 emission reduction target and of those, only Nova Scotia and New Brunswick were on track to meet those targets.
It should also be pointed out that these same two provinces also had the lowest targets.
The report indicates that as much as this Liberal Government uses the talking point that “the environment and the economy go hand in hand,” in reality there are still trade-offs and Canada remains far from achieving our GHG emissions reduction targets.
My question this week: What do you think it means to say “The Economy and the Environment go hand in hand?”
I can be reached at Dan.Albas@parl.gc.ca or call toll free at 1-800-665-8711.