Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Canada's Auditor General on GHG policy

As the figure shows, Canada's reduction targets for greenhouse gas emissions have become less ambitious over time.

The Auditor General of Canada's spring report has a scathing chapter documenting both the shifting goal posts of Canada's GHG policies and its consistent failure to come anywhere near any of them. Here is the conclusion:
2.36 Since 1992, the Government of Canada has committed, in various plans and agreements, to address climate change by reducing its national greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. However, national GHG emissions have risen and were 690 million tonnes in 2009, which is 24 percent above the Kyoto target.
2.37 In 2010, the Government of Canada made new international and domestic commitments to reduce GHG emissions to 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. Environment Canada has announced a sector-by-sector regulatory approach in alignment with the United States. However, we concluded that the Department has not put in place an appropriate implementation plan to support this approach, which is designed to meet the 2020 target established by these commitments. As of February 2012, only one of the sectors, the transportation sector, was under regulation for GHG emissions. No regulations were in place for the oil and gas sector, the second-largest emitter of GHG. Because regulations are complex, and can take up to five years to develop and result in GHG reductions, it is unlikely that the regulatory approach will contribute emission reductions that are sufficient to meet the 2020 target.
2.38 In July 2011, Environment Canada released Canada’s Emissions Trends, a report that outlines expected GHG emission reductions up to 2020, under varying scenarios. This document is an important step toward a transparent accounting of Canada’s efforts to reduce GHG emissions. However, the forecast shows that in 2020, Canada’s GHG emissions will be 7.4 percent above the 2005 level instead of 17 percent below, which indicates that the 2020 target will not be met with existing measures.

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