Canada Scrambles to Create National Climate Plan, But May Sign COP21 Without One

October 2, 2020 0 By HearthstoneYarns

Canada’s approach to tackling climate change grows ever more confused as the federal government scrambles to sign the Paris climate accord in early November—without actually putting forth a national plan to limit the country’s soaring carbon emissions.

“Canada has a consistent history under successive Liberal and Conservative governments of making international carbon-cutting promises that it fails to honour, first under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol and then again under the 2009 Copenhagen agreement,” CBC reports.

“Ratification by Canada will help build the global momentum for action on climate change. To be taken seriously, however, we need a plan to actually turn those lovely words into deeds,” said Keith Stewart, head of Greenpeace Canada’s climate and energy campaign.

“We don’t want to repeat the Kyoto Protocol experience where a Liberal government signed but then refused to spend any political capital to honour that commitment. Ultimately, the federal government has the policy tools it needs to act on climate and if Canada truly is back in the fight against global climate change then [Prime Minister Justin] Trudeau must be prepared to do what is necessary even if it means angering the oil industry and their political allies,” Stewart added.

Indeed, Ed Fast, a Conservative environment critic, told CBC that “Prime Minister Trudeau, in signing the Paris Agreement before finalizing his pan-Canadian framework on climate change, is making the same mistake Jean Chretien made with the Kyoto accord: acting alone without the support of the provinces and territories.”

With a goal of reducing its emissions to 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, Canada already has the dubious honor of possessing “the weakest [target] among leading industrialized nations,” critics say.

The Liberal government campaigned last year on a promise to revise that target, set by the previous Conservative administration, and make it much more ambitious, but the Trudeau administration has now back-tracked.

Perhaps in an attempt to assuage critics, on Sunday the federal government unilaterally announced a carbon pricing plan.

Yet the federal government announced the plan without the approval of provinces, and was immediately met with resistance from Saskatchewan, which is one of the few provinces that doesn’t already have a climate pricing regimen, and from Quebec, which feared the government would force it to adopt different standards than the ones it already enforces, according to Reuters.