Canada falls dangerously short on emissions targets

Environment Canada’s latest report on emissions trends clearly shows that Canada is far behind schedule on its international commitments to meet emission targets.

In signing the Copenhagen Accord in 2009, Stephen Harper committed to reduce Canada’s emissions to 607 Megatonnes (Mt) by 2020, a 17% decrease from 2005 levels. Emissions dropped sharply due to the economic crisis in 2008 (to 692 Mt) and started climbing again as the economy recovered. The report’s projections predict that Canada’s emissions in 2020 will total 734 Mt, up from the 2012 estimate of 720 Mt by 2020.

The Copenhagen Accord itself was already a weakened version of the Kyoto targets Canada had agreed to in 1998 and ratified in 2002. “Canada is nowhere near reaching even this pitiable revised target,” said Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and Member of Parliament for Saanich-Gulf Islands.

At a time when the impacts of the climate crisis can no longer be ignored, Canada has become a pariah on the international stage by failing to implement any effective climate plan to curb emissions.

The report itself unconvincingly describes the “encouraging signs” and “significant progress” Canada has made to reach its emissions targets. Meanwhile, Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq told the House of Commons yesterday that, “our government is taking action to address climate change.”

“If the Harper Conservatives find this report encouraging, it is clear they have absolutely no understanding of the grave consequences of the crisis we are facing,” said May. “Increased resource development, weakened environmental assessment legislation and shamefully inadequate regulations are not meaningful actions to address climate change. We simply can no longer delay in setting and satisfying targets, with measurable objectives, to really reduce emissions.”