To hit climate target, Ottawa would have to work 10 times harder


The Harper government will have to start trying 10 times harder to cut Canada‘s greenhouse gas emissions if it wants to meet the target it’s committed to in international climate negotiations. This is revealed by two new reports that Environment Canada recently posted on its website.

In the first report, which appeared in early June, Environment Canada states that it expects federal policies to reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by nine million tonnes (Mt) in 2012, relative to where they would be without those policies. This is a reduction of just 1.2 per cent in Canada’s 2012 emissions relative to the no-policy scenario.

The second report appeared on Environment Canada’s website just before the August long weekend. It contains a detailed projection of what will happen to Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions over the next decade in the absence of new government policies. This is important information that outside analysts need in order to understand the effectiveness of policy proposals. Its publication now is particularly welcome because although Environment Canada updates these projections annually, the last time it published one was over three years ago.

Environment Canada’s new projection shows that in the absence of any government policies to curtail emissions, and with mid-range assumptions about economic growth and the price of oil, Canada’s annual greenhouse gas emissions would reach 850 Mt in 2020, compared to 731 Mt in 2005.

Canada's greenhouse gas emissions 2005-2020

Click on the image for an enlarged view.

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