Canada must update its climate targets based on scientific findings

Elizabeth May

Mr. Speaker, I wish I shared the enthusiasm of the member for St. John’s East that the current government has a climate plan. It does not have a plan.

However, nothing makes me more sympathetic to the Liberals’ attempts to deal with climate change, which is a current crisis, than hearing the Conservatives take strips off them for the few things they are doing.

I heard the hon. member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan claim that emissions went down under the Harper years. That is true, but I do not think former prime minister Stephen Harper wants to take credit for the global economic collapse, which was the only reason emissions went down at all. They began to go right back up as soon as the economy recovered. There was no sector-by-sector regulatory approach. It was a series of press releases.

The current Liberal government cannot claim credit for targets that meet the Paris Agreement when we have not updated our target in light of the science. The Paris Agreement was negotiated six months after Stephen Harper set the current target to 2030, which is unchanged under this government.

Will my colleague join me in encouraging the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and the Prime Minister to update Canada’s carbon target so that it is consistent with the Paris Agreement we signed?

Nick Whalen – Member for St. John’s East

Mr. Speaker, the first thing I would note is that in addition to the recession, initiatives were also taken by individual provinces, such as Ontario with the reduction of coal.

With respect to the issue at hand regarding setting the targets in order to meet our goals, most Canadians would agree that we need to commit to what we agreed to in the Paris climate agreement, and that the current initiative we are proposing on pricing carbon does not, as designed, go the entire way. It needs to be buttressed with other available efforts we are making to reduce emissions through innovation, greening of government, and the other laundry list of initiatives that I mentioned during my comments.

If the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands feels that is not enough and we need to do more, the science over time, between now and 2030, will bear that out.