So what did Leona Aglukkaq, Canada’s Minister of the Environment say when she spoke to the recent United Nations Climate Summit?
As predicted Ms. Aglukkaq referred to recent draft regulations governing emissions from motor vehicles. These regulations, promised two years ago, align Canada with similar US regulations.
The Minister also referred to the regulation of coal-fired electricity generating plants. Nothing new there: these regulations have been around for some time, and won’t result in reduced emissions for many years.
The Province of Ontario phased out coal fired plants this year. So in the context of Canada there is a basis for her statement. Our Federal Government regularly positions itself to receive credit on the international scene for Ontario’s action.
Certain of Ms. Aglukkaq’s comments on real issues that concern the UN were hyprocritical. As examples, compare her remarks as reported by CBC with the facts.
Minister Aglukkaq: “We are not waiting to act. We are taking decisive action to ensure Canada remains a leader and contributes its part to this global cause,”
Fact: Canada abandoned the Kyoto Protocol, and is not on track to meet its international target for emission reductions as promised by Prime Minister Harper at Copenhagen five years ago.
Minister Aglukkaq: “What we’ve moved on is the two largest emitters in Canada related to the electricity sector as well as the transportation sector.”
Fact: . . . in a report to the UN in April, Environment Canada’s own numbers showed that oil and gas production accounted for 25 per cent of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2012, the largest source of GHG emissions in the country.
These comments were not correct. Perhaps the inaccuracies are due to her lack of experience in the portfolio. Perhaps the Prime Minister’s Office (our PM didn’t address the summit) dictated the content of her remarks. If so, those circumstances mitigate the suggestion of Ministerial hypocrisy . . . but don’t excuse our country’s performance!