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For release: August 9, 2007

Provinces asked to regulate main sources of global warming pollution

Industry regulation, California car standards and efficient buildings keys to reducing emissions

(Moncton) As premiers gather in Moncton today for the Council of the Federation meetings, federal inaction on climate change has put it at the top of the agenda. Canadians want to see leadership on global warming. In order for the provinces to fill the gap left by the federal government, they must start by requiring absolute greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions from industry that align with the reductions scientists tell us we need to avoid dangerous climate change, said Canada's Climate Action Network - a network of more than 60 environmental organizations.

“Greenhouse gas emissions have increased in Canada by 25% since 1990, and have grown in each of the provinces as well (from a 5% increase in Québec to a 61% increase in Saskatchewan),” said Toby Couture, Conservation Council of New Brunswick. “The federal government seems to have completely abandoned its responsibilities. We need leadership, and the provinces can help to provide it.”

Canadians have witnessed a significant departure from provincial apathy over the past 14 months. The majority of provinces - representing the vast majority of Canadians - now appear committed to taking action to curb global warming. The new climate change plans tabled by several provinces and the commitment to GHG-reduction targets are encouraging signs pointing to real action on climate change.

The most effective way for the Council of the Federation to move from talk to action is to make a commitment to:

  1. Adopt mandatory regulations (e.g. cap-and-trade) as soon as possible that achieve a reduction in industrial GHG emissions equal to 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020.

  2. Adopt California Vehicle Tailpipe Standards. These regulations would reduce CO2 emissions from new passenger vehicles by 25-30% between 2009 and 2016.

  3. By the end of 2008, set ambitious energy-efficiency standards for all new buildings equivalent to either R2000 or to EnerGuide 80 energy-efficiency performance.

“We are encouraged by some of the provincial initiatives we've seen so far, and but now we need concrete steps to bring emissions down,” said Dale Marshall, David Suzuki Foundation. “Regulation is the best way to make this happen. Climate change plans do not reduce emissions by themselves.”

“We need a race to the top among Canada's provinces,” said Hugo Séguin, Équiterre. “There is now reason for hope because of the sea change that appears to be taking place within governments previously indifferent or even hostile to action on climate change. If the premiers follow up on these good intentions with actions in the coming days and months, they will make a real and lasting contribution to protecting Canadians from dangerous climate change.”

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