Harper’s evasion speaks volumes on Canada’s failed Copenhagen targets

The Green Party of Canada is calling on Prime Minister Harper to provide real answers as to whether Canada has officially given up on combatting climate change.

In Question Period today, the Prime Minister side-stepped a question from Green Leader Elizabeth May on Canada’s projected failure in meeting the emissions reduction targets set out during the 2009 Conference of Parties (COP 15) in Copenhagen.

Under the Copenhagen agreement, Canada had pledged to reduce total emissions by 17% over 2005 levels by the year 2020. Instead, the federal government predicts that by that time our emissions will have been reduced by barely 1%.

In responding to May’s question, the Prime Minister made only vague reference to greenhouse gas emissions, and completely ignored the question of Canada’s Copenhagen targets.

“It has been clear since 2006 that Stephen Harper has never understood that the climate crisis is a real threat to our future — to both the economy and global security. Having shamefully withdrawn from Kyoto, Stephen Harper is now running away from his own pledge to other world leaders in Copenhagen,” said the Member of Parliament for Saanich-Gulf Islands. “The IPCC report made it clear that the opportunity to avoid global tipping points is shrinking. We cannot afford delay, procrastination and denial. We can no longer afford Stephen Harper.”

Below is a transcript of the exchange between the Green Party Leader and Prime Minister Harper:

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, on Monday, the IPCC released its first update in six years on impacts, vulnerability and adaptation, demonstrating that even low degrees of warming globally can lead to abrupt and irreversible changes, threatening global security and even human civilization itself.

In 2009, the Prime Minister committed this country to join the world to avoid those small changes in temperature. My question to the Prime Minister is given that Environment Canada now projects a 100% failure rate in meeting our 2020 target, are the government and country still committed to the Copenhagen target? If so, when will he publish a credible plan?

Right Hon. Stephen Harper: Mr. Speaker, as you know, the government remains committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions while doing so in a way that obviously respects Canadians’ jobs and protects our economy. I am happy to note that under this government for the first time in history we have both growth and jobs and we actually are seeing emissions reductions. The government will continue to work on getting our emissions down.