A made-in-Canada climate-change puzzle

Canada’s December’s presentation at the UN sponsored COP Paris could be two-faced.  One face will be our Federal Conservative Government.  The second face will be Provinces who are serious about reducing GHG.

The Federal Government must submit Canada’s Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC’s) for Greenhouse Gas reductions to the UN.  No less a person than the Secretary General of the United Nations appealed to Canada to be ambitious in setting a target for reduced emission.

Ambitious target? Our Federal Government is having none of it.

The Federal Government promised regulations on oil and gas industry emissions, the largest single source of GHG’s in Canada.  Eight years later there are no regulations in place and no plan to introduce regulations until the US does the same.

At the 2009 Copenhagen Conference Prime Minister Harper committed Canada to reducing GHGs by 2020. In the past six years his government has not put forward any substantial program that would enable Canada to live up to this commitment.

A scientific study released in March of this year, “Acting on Climate Change”, advised the Government that the first step in limiting emissions is putting a price on carbon, either a carbon tax or cap-and-trade. Quebec is already an active participant in the Western Climate Initiative, a cap-and-trade plan, as will Ontario in the very near future.

The Federal Minister of Natural Resources recently condemned any proposal for carbon pricing – either through a sales tax or cap-and-trade – as job-killing taxes that would increase the price of all goods, especially fuel and food. Mr. Harper, other Cabinet Ministers and Conservative MP’s will all be saying the same thing at election time.

Canada is delaying its INDC until it receives Provincial estimates of GHG reductions.  One assumes the Federal Government will submit these estimates to the UN without comment.

There is the possibility that cracks in the Canadian Federation will appear at Paris. Provincial Governments, particularly Quebec and Ontario, will be there to showcase their participation in a cap-and-trade plan as the new center piece of Canada’s reductions.

The Federal Government’s sector-by-sector regulatory approach does not prevent its participation in the provincial plans. Other countries and the UN Secretariat will expect Federal leadership on an international obligation.

There will be questions why the Federal Government has not taken effective steps to further limit emissions by Canada-wide measures by supporting Provincial cap-and-trade plans.

Will it then explain its non-participation by referring to these cap-and-trade plans as a “Job killing Carbon Tax”?  The world knows that BC’s carbon tax did not lead to increased unemployment. Other Western countries that our Government refers to as climate partners will respond: “Baloney” . . . in diplomatic language of course.

The only circumstance that could make a difference is the defeat of Mr. Harper and his party in our next Federal election.

For further on the subject go to –

The Way Forward: a Practical Approach to reducing Canada’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The Road to Paris is paved with subnational intentions!  by Ontario’s ECO

“Dire Warning Really Means Dire”!

When it isn’t leadership!

Running out of time!

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