Toronto – In response to a speech by Environment Minister Jim Prentice to the University of Calgary this afternoon, Environmental Defence released new calculations showing that the federal government’s recently weakened target for reducing Canada’s global warming pollution increases the unfairness between provinces. Leading provinces will be cutting 20% more than lagging provinces using 2005 as the baseline.
“Minister Prentice’s tough talk on the tar sands masks the fact that his government is not only failing to enforce existing federal laws to reduce the environmental damage, but is also relying on other provinces to make even deeper emissions cuts in order to let tar sands pollution grow,” said Gillian McEachern, Program Manager with Environmental Defence.
Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia each have more ambitious provincial targets than the proposed new federal one.
Canada: 17% below 2005 by 2020
Ontario: 15% below 1990 by 2020
Quebec: 20% below 1990 by 2020
BC: 33% below 2007 by 2020
Assuming the three provincial targets are met, and that the rest of Canada meets the new, weaker federal target, the burden of reducing pollution would be distributed in the following way based on 1990 and 2005 baselines:
2005 2020 % Change 1990 2020 % Change
Canada overall 731.00 606.73 -17% 592.00 606.73 +2.5%
BC, ON and QC 356.30 259.15 -27% 305.60 259.15 -15%
Rest of Canada 374.70 347.58 -7% 286.40 347.58 +21
Leaked cabinet documents reported on last December involved letting tar sands emissions increase threefold to 150 million tonnes, casting doubt on the sincerity of the federal government to meet even the new weakened target. This would make an overall national target harder to meet, since deeper cuts would need to be made by other provinces to compensate.
As part of following up on the Copenhagen climate summit, Canada is to date the only developed country that has filed with the UN emission target numbers that have an increase over 1990 levels by 2020. The U.S., Japan, Australia, and the European Union have all committed to reducing emissions from 1990 levels.
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For more information, or to arrange interviews, contact:
Jennifer Foulds, Environmental Defence, (416)323-9521 ext 232; (647) 280-9521 (cell)