OTTAWA – The long-awaited Emissions Reduction Plan released today by Environment and Climate Change Minister Steven Guilbeault is yet more proof that the government has not grasped the scale of the climate emergency nor the level of action required to preserve a livable world, said Green Party interim Leader Amita Kuttner.
“We continue to demand a program of transformation that adheres to what the science tells us,” said Dr. Kuttner. “We are in a climate crisis and we need to start acting like it. Preserving a livable world is an emergency requiring that we set aside incrementalism. We need new structures, new thinking and heroic action.”
Green Party parliamentary leader Elizabeth May (MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands) said: “We see many good programs in this plan but the reality is inescapable – this plan will fail by design because it focuses on the target of net zero by 2050. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has made it clear that for net zero by 2050 to leave us a livable climate, emissions must be far more deeply cut by 2030.
“Making net zero by 2050 the only focus, ignoring the IPCC advice that the window on 1.5 degrees is closing rapidly, is dangerous. Canada is the only country in the world expressing our 2030 target as a range – a weak 40-45 per cent below 2005 by 2030. It is clear from today’s release that the real target is 40 per cent. Even if Canada meets that target, we will have failed to do our part to hold to no more than 1.5 degrees global average temperature increase.”
Mike Morrice (MP, Kitchener Centre) noted: “At COP26 in Glasgow we heard a clear message that holding to 1.5 degrees is a massive challenge. We cannot coast to 2025 on our current levels of ambition and have any hope of keeping 1.5 alive.
“We agree that it is progress to have modeling leading to a sector by sector analysis, but that road map is to the wrong destination and none of the sectoral GHG emission goals are enforceable,” added Mr. Morrice.
“The table was set for disappointment,” said Dr. Kuttner. “The plan stems from legislation – the Canadian Net Zero Emissions Accountability Act – that ignores proven best practices from such legislation around the world.”
In the climate legislation of other nations, the first milestone year has been five years from the law’s passage. The UK act remains a world leader, with targets every five years since 2013 and governments from different parties meeting the targets. The UK’s GHG emissions are now 48 percent below 1990 levels, while Canada remains 20 percent above 1990.
“Canada’s accountability mechanism is weak,” said Dr. Kuttner. “If the 2030 target is missed, the minister merely has to explain why.”
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