Canada’s New Plan “Pretends” to Curb Emissions, Say Activists
By Stephen Leahy
Apr 26 (IPS) – Canada’s newest plan to curb greenhouse gas emissions will be much too little and too late, environmentalists said Thursday.
Its third climate action plan in less than two years, the Canadian government proposal titled “Turn the Corner”, released Thursday afternoon, proposes to reduce emissions 20 percent by 2020. However, that would be a 20 percent reduction from 2006 levels.
“That would leave Canada 11 percent above its Kyoto commitments many years after the country is legally obligated to meet them,” says John Bennett of the Climate Action Network Canada, a coalition of environmental groups.
“This government is all about pretending to reduce emissions,” Bennett told IPS.
In a statement, Canada’s Environment Minister John Baird said, “winter is disappearing as we know it” and then acknowledged that Canada has “one of the worst environmental records among industrialised countries”.
The “Turn the Corner” plan recognises the urgent need to take action, “while also respecting our responsibility to keep Canadian families working,” Baird concluded. There was little mention of the Kyoto Protocol, whose reduction targets the present Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said is unrealistic.
“This is not Canada turning the corner but Canada turning its back on the world,” said Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party of Canada.
Before Canada became a major oil exporter it had been a champion of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change to reduce emissions. Under that agreement, 35 industrialised nations are obligated to reduce emissions by an average five percent below 1990 levels by the 2008-2012 period.
Canada went one better and agreed to reach six percent by 2012.
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