Repost from Business Green
Canada aims for 30 per cent emissions cuts
Environmentalists say Harper administration has little chance of meeting the 2030 goal while tar sands expansion continuesBy Will Nichols, 19 May 2015
Canada has pledged to tackle its rising carbon emissions, but environmentalists have claimed the goal is unattainable while the country continues to exploit its tar sands oil reserves.
Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq announced late last week Canada would aim to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, as part of the country’s contribution to a global carbon reduction deal that is set to be signed at the UN climate conference in Paris later this year.
The commitment falls short of the US pledge to cut emissions up to 28 per cent against 2005 levels by 2025 and the EU goal of 40 per cent emissions reductions below 1990 levels by 2030.
However, the country’s government insisted the pledge was “in line” with other major industrialised countries.
“This target is fair and ambitious, an ambitious commitment based on our national circumstances, which includes a growing population, a diversified growing economy and Canada’s position as a world leader in clean electricity generation,” Aglukkaq said.
“Achieving this ambitious goal will require actions from all levels of government and we will continue to work together, cooperatively with the provinces and the territories’ goals.”
Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions have risen steadily since 2009, when it joined the US in pledging 17 per cent reductions by 2020, mainly due to growth in tar sands oil production in the province of Alberta. Currently, Canada is only expected to get halfway to the 17 per cent goal, with Alberta alone expected to account for 40 per cent of the country’s carbon pollution by the end of the decade.
Environmentalists said that without scaling back its long-standing plans to expand tar sands production it is difficult to see how Canada will meet the new emissions goal, even given that provinces such as Ontario have announced targets far in excess of the Federal goal.
“The Harper government has not only ignored its existing reduction target, but the pro-tar sands policies it has adopted are taking us in the opposite direction,” said Keith Stewart, climate campaigner for Greenpeace Canada. “Until today’s announcement is backed by a commitment to enacting policies that can actually achieve this new target, it isn’t worth the paper it is written on.”
Canada follows the US, EU, Russia, Mexico, Switzerland, Norway, Gabon, Liechtenstein, and Andorra in officially submitting its climate action plan, or Intended National Determined Contributions in the UN parlance, to the body’s climate change secretariat in readiness for December’s Paris Summit.