This Wednesday, Bill C-311 (Climate Change Accountability Act) will be debated at Report Stage. This NDP-sponsored bill includes targets of a 25% reduction in emissions below 1990 levels by 2020, and 80% below by 2050. It also obliges the government to produce an emissions target plan for 2015, 2020, 2025, 2030, 2035, 2040 and 2045.
I don’t know that the bill’s prospects for passing are, but it seems likely to have little effect in any case. Parliament previously passed the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act, in the face of government opposition. The government refused to alter its climate change mitigation plans in response, and the
Supreme Court Federal Court of Appeal ruled that the law was ‘not justiciable’ and therefore not for the courts to enforce.
The only importance this bill seems likely to have is a mild and symbolic one. If it passes, it will show continued dissatisfaction on the part of opposition parties about the government’s climate plan. If it fails, it risks showing the opposition parties divided on the issue, or unwilling to make it a priority.
[Update: 13 April 2010] This post originally made reference to the Supreme Court of Canada, whereas it should have made reference to the Federal Court.
[Update: 15 April 2010] The bill passed the Report Stage and will go to Third Reading, probably via committee. The motion to send it to Third Reading passed by 155 to 137.