We are almost out of time to avoid more than 1.5 degrees global average temp. increase

Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
2021-02-22 19:53 [p.4407]

Madam Speaker, it is an honour to take the adjournment proceedings this evening to review a question and to hopefully get a better answer than the one I received back on November 30, 2020.
At that time, of course, being in calendar year 2020, the question of extreme importance and urgency was whether the government was going to fulfill a commitment that the Government of Canada made during the negotiations at COP 15 in Paris. That commitment was to improve and enhance what is called an NDC in the Paris language, a nationally determined contribution, generally referred to as a target. We committed in Paris that in calendar year 2020 we would improve our target and do so again every five years thereafter.

When I asked the minister what the plans were to improve our target in 2020, I was disappointed that he did not answer directly, but the answer is now very clear. The time has passed. We are in 2021. We have not changed our target. We have not met the commitment we made.

In conversations with people around the minister’s office, it was reported to me that the department did not think that commitment was legally binding and other countries have not done it either. I find both of those responses appalling. It is a commitment that we made. It can be found in paragraph 24 of the COP 21 decision document, in which every country with a 2030 deadline for their first NDC was to improve their target in 2020. As to the idea that other countries have not done it, 69 of them have. Of course, it is only the countries that have 2030 deadlines.

Here we are in 2021 with a target that is completely out of step with all of our G7 partners and most of the industrialized world. We have one of the weakest targets in the world and the weakest of an industrialized country, except perhaps Saudi Arabia. We now have an opportunity to improve our record. I want to shift gears here to the potential for getting things right.

We are desperately close to being completely out of time in terms of carbon budgeting to avoid going above 1.5° Celsius global average temperature increase. This is in fact the target that is in the Paris Agreement, which is a legally binding document. This increase must not be exceeded, but on almost every review of where we are on the science, it is almost impossible to hold to 1.5°. There is a window on holding to our target. It will have closed, and permanently, well before 2030.

We now have the opportunity to improve our target and do our fair share, which would be at least twice what we have now committed to do, and that opportunity is coming up now because President Biden has established a climate leaders summit to take place on Earth Day, April 22, obviously, I am sure, by Zoom.

That is when Canada is really going to have to step up and say that we are prepared to reduce our emissions by 60% below 2005 levels by 2030, and set in place a first milestone year under Bill C-12 of reductions that are firm by 2025, of at least 15%. That would be the beginning of a clear commitment to the kind of action we said we would undertake when we signed the Paris Agreement.