Canada’s climate plans a flop

2010-06-03

in Canada, Economics, Law, Politics, Rants, The environment

As discussed in a post of the Pembina Institute’s blog Canada’s record of failure in dealing with climate change continues to worsen. While the government once promised that Canadian emissions would peak forever sometime between 2010 and 2012, they now expect them to rise all across that span.

Policies the government expected to reduce emissions by 52 million tonnes (megatonnes) of CO2 in 2010 are now expected to produce reductions of just 5 megatonnes. Furthermore, the $1.5 billion Clean Air and Climate Change Trust Fund, distributed to provinces in 2007, did not produce the expected 16 megatonne reduction. Now, the government claims it cut emissions by just 0.34 megatonnes, with 3 more to follow by 2015.

These lackluster results, coupled with ever-rising emissions (especially from the oil and gas sector) demonstrate convincingly that Canada just isn’t doing its part on climate change mitigation. Future generations are likely to see this quite correctly as evidence of short-sightedness and irresponsibility.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

. June 4, 2010 at 11:40 am

The 2009 report projected that government measures would reduce carbon emissions in 2010 by 52 megatonnes. But the 2010 report projects this year’s decrease to be just five megatonnes.

The government also admits for the first time in the 2010 report that the federal Environment Commissioner was right when he said last year that Ottawa may never know whether the large sums of money being handed to the provinces to fight climate change are being spent for that purpose.

And this year’s report says that the $1-billion over five years that the government promised last year to spend as part of its Green Infrastructure Fund is “not expected to result in quantifiable reductions [in emissions] by 2012.”

. June 4, 2010 at 11:57 am

But the government has been forced to regularly revise and downgrade its estimates every year since it started issuing the reports in 2007 after independent reviews by its advisory panel, the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, as well as the federal environment commissioner. The reviews by the panel and the commissioner are also mandatory under the legislation.

Tristan June 4, 2010 at 1:20 pm

It will be recognized as evidence of political structures which are controlled by the short term interest of corperations.

R.K. June 4, 2010 at 1:51 pm

Furthermore, the $1.5 billion Clean Air and Climate Change Trust Fund… cut emissions by just 0.34 megatonnes

Getting such poor value for money actually provides an argument for inaction. They can say it cost over a billion to get this paltry reduction, and then extrapolate from that what it would supposedly cost to meet the Kyoto targets or the government’s own mitigation targets.

Of course, they could get much bigger reductions at low or even negative cost by just putting a price on carbon.

R.K. June 4, 2010 at 1:57 pm

Canada’s Kyoto target was about 550 megatonnes. Emissions now are about 750 Mt.

To make that cut using the Clean Air and Climate Change Trust Fund would apparently cost about $880 billion.

. June 4, 2010 at 2:44 pm

When, however, the news is bad, well, standard procedure is either not to release the information at all, or to post it on a website without telling anyone, hoping the news will pass unnoticed.

Such was the case this week when quietly, of course, Environment Canada posted on its website the embarrassing news about the government’s expensive and largely futile measures to combat greenhouse gas emissions.

Try as it might, the government could not put lipstick on a pig. The numbers were there, stark and depressing, in an annual report required by all signatories to the original Kyoto Protocol. The bottom line: The world is right to consider Canada a climate-change miscreant.

. February 29, 2012 at 5:34 pm

Canada’s government muzzles scientists, stonewalls press queries about health, environment and climate

The Canadian Harper government’s policy of not allowing government researchers to speak without approval and without being attended by political minders is in the news again. A series of speakers at an AAAS meeting told the international science community that climate, environmental and health research that calls government policy into question is routinely suppressed. Prof Andrew Weaver of U Victoria said, “The only information [the press] are given is that which the government wants, which will then allow a supporting of a particular agenda.”

. April 16, 2012 at 11:55 am

Canada Greenhouse Gas Emissions Data Suggests Country Might Miss Goal

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/11/canada-greenhouse-gas-emissions-_n_1419039.html?ref=green

By David Ljunggren

OTTAWA, April 11 (Reuters) – Although Canada’s output of greenhouse gases was almost unchanged in 2010 from 2009, the major oil producer will find it tough to meet its 2020 emissions-cut target, government figures signaled on Wednesday.

Conservative government officials hailed the data, which showed emissions in Canada rose by just 0.25 percent in 2010 from the year before, hitting 692 megatons. The economy grew by 3.2 percent in the same period.

Canada has committed to cutting emissions to 607 megatons by 2020, a goal that critics say will be very hard to meet due to big increases in production in the oil-rich tar sands of northern Alberta. Tar sands output generates more greenhouse gases than conventional oil production.

Green activists complain the right-of-center government is ignoring the environment to focus on the needs of the oil and gas industry, and they say Ottawa has yet to produce a strategy to curb output of the harmful gases that will allow it to reach its 2020 target.

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