Earlier today, pranksters impersonating Environment Canada issued a phony press release which contained new targets for greenhouse gas mitigation in Canada. While Canada’s actual targets are 20% below 2006 levels by 2020 (equivalent to about 3% below 1990 levels) and 60-70% below 2006 levels by 2050, the press release included the much more ambitious figures of 40% below 1990 levels by 2020 and over 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. The release also made reference to a major transfer of funds to the developing world, as compensation for past harm and to encourage both mitigation and adaptation actions.
Compared to Canada’s real targets, the phony tougher targets are much more in line with an emissions pathway set up to reduce the risk of more than 2°C of warming. The stunt also draws attention to how Canada isn’t really negotiating in Copenhagen. We came in with a pair of targets that we say we will reach, regardless of what anyone else does, though we also frequently say that we won’t do anything until the US acts. Indeed, our environment minister was saying less than a month ago that Canada won’t take meaningful action for years. It should also be recalled that the government once promised that their intensity-based approach would lead to emissions peaking by 2012. Nobody mentions that pledge anymore.
The identities of those behind the stunt remain unknown. Hopefully, it will draw attention to Canada’s evasion and lack of ambition, prompting a genuine change of targets and approach soon.