Past performance suggests that Canada’s progress towards GHG emissions targets will significantly depend on provincial efforts. The Quebec Government has been the catalyst for discussion by Provincial Premiers (in their capacity as Council of the Federation). The Premiers are scheduled to meet at Quebec City in April to decide what further efforts should be taken.
Leaving the decision till April creates a problem. By March the parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change are expected to submit Intended Nationally Determined Contributions towards achieving the objectives of the Convention. Canada’s submission – together with submissions from the other Convention parties – will make it possible for the UN to track the world’s progress towards limiting global warming to 2 degrees centigrade.
Canada’s submission very probably requires Provinces to commit to reducing emissions. Until these commitments are given, the Federal Government can plausibly explain a failure to meet the UN deadline. The Federal Government would be content with an excuse for delay until the summer, when public interest in climate change could be at a minimum.
Louise Comeau of Climate Action Network Canada – Réseau action climat Canada monitors the decisions of Provincial Premiers. She has summarized principles that the Premiers should adopt:
- Protecting people and the planet from climate disruption requires the Canadian Energy Strategy to be a Clean Energy Strategy.
- We need a major shift in how we produce and use energy: we have to say NO to dirty fuels like coal, oil and gas and redirect investment to clean energy. The Canadian Energy Strategy must launch the clean energy revolution.
- Climate Protection must define the Canadian Energy Strategy.Premiers must move beyond principles to action: all premiers should direct their officials and ministers to deliver on clean energy. (Ed. Note: As the Premier of Ontario has!)
- We need targets and plans for energy efficiency and conservation and renewable energy.
- The next five years are critical to Canada’s economic and social well-being: Only clean energy investments NOW will deliver the kind of jobs we need to compete in the global effort to control carbon emissions. (edit and emphasis added)
If the Premiers agree that the Canadian Energy Strategy requires a “Clean Energy Strategy” and back this up by adopting substantial provisions to advance renewable energy, the delay will be acceptable.
If the Premiers don’t accept the inclusion of a clean energy strategy , Canada could once again be an obstacle to negotiation of a crucial agreement on climate change at the December COP meeting in Paris.