Our last blog, Adapting to Climate Change, noted comments in a recent Press Release (February 15, 2013) by Peter Kent, Minister of the Environment, emphasizing “adaptation” and “sustainability”. According to the Environment Canada’s website, Kent’s two key points were:
Canada has begun to decouple greenhouse gas emissions from economic growth.
Even though the economy grew by 6.3% between 2005 and 2010, greenhouse gas emissions decreased by 48 megatonnes or 6.5% in that same period.[Our Comment:
The period chosen includes periods of economic growth and economic contraction. The increase/decrease “facts” are roughly similar to the experience of many other countries but nowhere close to the leaders. So Canada is not a standout in this metric.]
Current trends indicate that Canada is on track to achieve half of the reductions as required under Copenhagen.
Current projections show that Canada is about one half of the way towards meeting its national greenhouse gas reduction target.[ Our Comment:
We have already questioned this conclusion in our blog, The Doha Conference: Canada’s Credibility. The government claim of being half way to “national greenhouse gas target” is calculated using new parameters of measurement. So it remains to be seen what the real progress to date has been. (Remember: the national targets (meaning the targets agreed to at Copenhagen) are well below the Kyoto targets – the ones that count!) ]
The Federal Government gets an A for its ability to put the most positive face on its performance on climate change.
Of further interest:
Since 1998 Environment Canada has included the Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Division (CCIAD) that works to advance adaptation to climate change in Canada. This Division is tasked with the supervision of the expenditure of Government funds necessary for adaptation measures since the effects of climate change are “locked in”.
Environment Canada has been very forthcoming with press releases about these Government expenditures. As useful as they may be, these expenditures are minimal compared to expenditures/programs essential to combating climate change.
Jeffrey Simpson, the respected Globe & Mail columnist., commented on the strategy of the Harper Government, referring to:
“. . . the party’s overall approach of extending political offerings longer on image than substance to parts of its core vote” [and]
“ . . . gestures and policies directed at the heart of its base to fire up its enthusiasm for the Conservative cause, and these are accompanied by little targeted tax cuts and spending announcements.” (Saturday, February 23, 2013)
We think these observations fit the Harper Government’s approach to climate change