As required by the Kyoto Protocol Russia recently delivered its formal statement on future GHG emissions. Essentially Russia told the UN Secretariat that it would do nothing to curb emissions until 2030. Russia expects a free ride over those intervening years
Canada must also advise the Secretariat of its targets for reduced emissions. According to Prime Minister Harper Canada’s target will be of a similar level of ambition of other major industrialized countries. Which countries could he be referring to?
In 2011 Canada, Japan and Russia stated they would not commit to a second stage of Kyoto targets. Canada went a step further and withdrew altogether from its exising target under the Kyoto Protocol
Japan is a member of the G8, as was Russia until 2014. So could Canada be intending to measure its “ambition” against Japan and Russia as “the other major industrialist countries” referred to in Mr. Harper’s remarks?
Japan is in the throes of changing from nuclear to other energy sources. In the meantime it is relying upon coal-fired plants to generate electricity. Like Germany during its transition to a new energy source, Japan has no chance of meeting ambitious emission targets during this period. So Japan is probably not the example that Harper has in mind.
Which leaves Russia as our ambition model? The land of Putin? The behind the scenes aggressor in Ukraine? And the country that counts on a free ride over a crucial period.
Or Australia, where a new Government unwound the climate change measures of its predecessor. A country identified along with Canada as public enemy number one at the Paris COP.
There is a casualty in this orientation. Canada is moving away from an identification of our climate change policy with the US. The US recently announced its new emission targets, which are far beyond what Canada could achieve. Faced with that reality Harper had to abandon this justification for lack of Canadian effort to reduce emissions.
The Prime Minister Harper also referred to possible regulatory measures . So will he revive an undertaking he first made seven years ago? And which his Government has ignored since – the regulation of the tar sands.