“Weaker than it looks!”

Canada has just submitted to the UNITED NATIONS its independently nationally determined contributions (INDC) to the reduction of global GHG emissions. As usual, Canada’s submission included the buzz words “ambitious targets” and “decisive action”.

The submission undertakes that Canada’s 2030 emissions will be 30% below 2005 emissions, a year when our country’s emissions were close to a historical high, a choice of base year that makes it easier to meet the target.

Canada’s Copenhagen target is to reduce emissions by 2020 to a level of 17% below its 2005 GHG emissions.  Canada is not on track to meet this target. In chosing a new target for 2030, Canada will avoid the embarrassment of a second failure to meet its international targets.

The submission includes a graph that shows Canada’s “progress” reaching its 2030 target.  The graph would be more persuasive if the progress was not plotted as a straight line from the year 2005 to 2030.

How will this 2030 target be achieved?  Canada’s submission referred to policies most of which it has presented numerous times before.    In case you have forgotten these policies include

  • the regulation of motor vehicles, following the lead of the United States;
  • the regulation of other Greenhouse Gases such as hydrofluorcarbons and methane, again following the lead of the United States;
  • banning of coal-fired electricity generating plants; and
  • significant investment since 2006 in green infrastructure, energy efficiency, clean energy technologies, cleaner fuels and smarter grids.

The submission promised new regulations on gas-fired electricity generating plants, and manufacturers of chemicals and fertilizers.

Not a word about regulation of the tar sands, Canada’s largest source of emissions. The submission refers to “international mechanisms”, suggesting that the Government is considering the purchase of credits to offset emissions from the tar sands.

Commenting on the submission, Climate Action Network described Canada’s target as “weaker than it looks”.   To further quote Climate Action Network:

“In addition to the 2030 timeline, it also appears that Canada will make generous use of carbon sinks associated with forestry and land use to offset energy-related emissions, . . .  ”.

What did we tell you!  In utilizing its extensive boreal forests as a mitigating factor, Canada has adopted  Russia’s precedent.

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