Canada outlines $9B plan to cut greenhouse gas reduction 40% by 2030

Climate watchers are eager to see how the federal government will hold itself accountable as a new greenhouse gas reduction plan is tabled Tuesday in Parliament.

The government’s detailed, sector-by-sector roadmap for curbing emissions in the country by 40 – 45 per cent of 2005 levels by the end of the decade — is now a legal requirement under a new net-zero accountability law the Liberals passed last year.

The 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan – Canada’s Next Steps for Clean Air and a Strong Economy is projecting that electricity emissions will be almost zero by the end of the decade but it will take longer to see real progress from the transportation sector.

It announces more than 9.1 billion in new investments, which includes more than $1 billion in efforts to move towards electric vehicles, as well as millions in support for farmers and communities to adopt cleaner practices in the journey to zero emissions.

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In the past, Canada has outlined 11 plans and nine different emissions targets since 1988 — none of them ever met.

“The reason Canada has historically missed every single one of the emissions targets it has set for itself is not because our targets were too ambitious,” Climate Action Network Canada policy manager Caroline Brouillette said.

“In fact, it’s quite the contrary. The reason we haven’t reached these targets is because of a critical lack of climate governance in Canada,” she said.

That is supposed to change, however, under the new accountability legislation.

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“I would say the government has a critical opportunity to present a plan that fills this gap in accountable, credible, ambitious, thorough, and inclusive planning that we have not seen in Canada yet,” Brouillette told CityNews.

That includes timelines and clearly defining which minister is responsible for each specific emissions reduction measure.

But, she says there is an “elephant in the room” in terms of Canada’s climate policy.

“That is the continued expansion of the oil and gas sector. Even though we have reduced the emissions produced by every barrel of oil produced in Canada, we have expanded production. That means, over time, our emissions from that sector have increased, and today they are the largest share of our economy’s emissions at 26 per cent.”

Brouillette believes the oil and gas industry needs to do its “fair share” to mitigate its greenhouse gas emissions.

“If one sector doesn’t do its part, the burden will fall on other sectors of the economy, other workers and other consumers.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be joined by Environment and Climate Minister Steven Guilbeault and Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson in Vancouver Tuesday to talk about the new plan.

With files from The Canadian Press

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