For immediate release
Ottawa, Canada. May 15, 2015. Canada today announced that it will cut carbon pollution by 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. The proposed target would be achieved five years later than the United States, relies on questionable carbon accounting practices in the forestry and land use sectors, includes international offsets to compensate for growing oil sands emissions rather than regulating the country’s fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions, and would emphasize regulations of methane and nitrous oxide rather than the primary greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide.
The federal approach to controlling climate disrupting pollution puts our people, communities and economy at risk by failing to ensure the country joins the global march toward a clean energy system. Today’s announcement by the federal government represents Canada’s contribution towards the Paris climate negotiations among the Group of 7 countries (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom and the United States).
The US has committed to cut carbon pollution 26 to 28 percent from 2005 levels by 2025; the European Union 40% below 1990 by 2030, and Japan is expected to announce 26% from 2013 by 2030. China also committed to curb emissions last fall, including a goal to meet at least 20 percent of its electricity needs with renewable energy technologies, while India plans on delivering an ambitious renewable energy plan. Ontario and California also have announced stronger targets with California set to cut carbon pollution 40% below 1990 by 2030 and Ontario 37% below 1990 by 2030.
The US target has a 2025, not a 2030 end date and the US has committed to achieving its target through domestic actions. In addition to the 2030 timeline, it also appears that Canada will make generous use of carbon sinks associated with forestry and land use to offset energy-related emissions, as well as make investments internationally generating reductions that would be credited against domestic emissions.
To keep our people, communities and economy safe requires that Canada join the global community in making deep cuts to carbon pollution by shifting away from burning coal, oil and gas in favour of clean, renewable energy like solar, wind and hydropower. Canada is currently ranked among the world’s top 10 largest emitters, with Alberta — the extraction site for Canada’s oil sands — accountable for 73 per cent of Canada’s greenhouse gas emission growth since 1990. Only a rapid transition to a clean energy system, in Canada and around the world, will ensure we avoid dangerous climate disruption from rapid global warming.
Instead of the transformative energy systems change required, the federal government has chosen to regulate methane from the oil and gas sector in line with the U.S. as well as process emissions from chemicals (ethylene, styrene, methanol and ethanol) and nitrogen fertilizers (ammonia and nitric acid). Controlling greenhouse gases like methane and nitrogen oxides are important, but Canada needs to go further than planned in controlling all greenhouse gases. Canada has refused to regulate carbon pollution from the oil sands, the fastest growing source of carbon emissions in Canada.
“What’s needed is a moratorium on new oil sands development and a complete phase out of coal from the electricity sector combined with a commitment to replace these dirty sources of energy with renewable energy supported by investments in energy efficiency and conservation. Unfortunately, today’s announcement, while a step forward, does not put Canada on track to deep decarbonization,” says Louise Comeau, Executive Director of Climate Action Network Canada.
“A target consistent with the scientific consensus would see Canada commit to cutting carbon pollution nationally by at least one third by 2025 (35% below 2005) combined with $4 billion annually in international climate finance by 2020 that would aim to generate global reductions equivalent to Canada’s remaining greenhouse gas emissions, ” says Steven Guilbault, Equiterre.
Climate change and the environment are top issues for Canadians. More than 25,000 people from across Canada assembled in Quebec this spring for the largest climate march in the city’s 15 years, demanding climate protection from their leaders, an end to oil sands and pipeline expansion, and a just transition towards renewable energy resources. Businesses, environmental groups and First Nations all see value in building a low carbon economy.
Louise Comeau, 1-506-238-0355; firstname.lastname@example.org;
Steven Guilbault, Équiterre, email@example.com , 1-514-231-2650;
Dale Marshall, Environmental Defence, firstname.lastname@example.org , 1-613-868-9917
Climate Action Network Canada – Réseau action climat Canada (CAN-Rac Canada) is a non-partisan coalition of more than 100 organizations from across the country that cares about how a changing climate affects people, plants and wildlife. Our Network believes that it is reckless not to invest now to keep our families and communities safe, especially when solutions are affordable. We are working together to advance solutions to managing our carbon pollution through sustainable and equitable development…
- Canada’s INDC Submission to the UNFCCC
- Backgrounder – Canada’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) to the Global Climate Change Effort
- Backgrounder – New Regulatory Action to Reduce Canada’s GHG Emissions
- Factsheet – Canada’s Action on Climate Change
- News release – HFCs
- News release – New vehicle regulations
- News release – Multi-Sector Air Pollutants Regulations