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NEWS: The NDP introduce C-224, the Climate Change Accountability Act

CBC reports, “The NDP is trying again to legislate stronger targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions… The proposed law would set a long-term greenhouse gas emissions reduction target of 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050, and a medium-term target of 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. …Canada’s current target is based on the less-strict 2006 base level and seeks to reduce emissions 17 percent by 2020.” When the Conservative government’s target is translated to the standard baseline year of 1990, this “less-strict” goal actually equates to a 2.5 percent increase over 1990 levels by 2020.

The report continues, “The NDP’s most recent attempt made it through the House of Commons and to the Senate last fall as C-311.” That bill was passed in May 2010 in a 149 to 136 vote in the House of Commons, when there was a Harper minority government. But in November 2010, the Conservative-dominated Senate voted 43 to 32 to kill C-311. “It’s much less likely to make it that far this time, with a majority Conservative government poised to vote it down.”

“A spokeswoman for Environment Minister Peter Kent says Canadians recently had an opportunity to consider the NDP’s climate change agenda, referring to the party’s second-place finish in the May 2 election. ‘We look forward to the mandate given to us by the Canadian people to proceed with our plan to reduce GHG emissions in a sector by sector approach which will balance the environment and the economy,’ she wrote in an email.” Prime Minister Stephen Harper has previously called the proposal to reduce Canada’s emissions 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 (rather than his 2.5 percent increase) “completely irresponsible” and said the targets would have a negative impact on Canada’s recovering economy.

To date, Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions have increased by about 26 per cent between 1990 and 2007 (when under the legally binding Kyoto Protocol Canada had pledged to reduce emissions by 6 percent between 1990 and 2012). Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow has repeatedly highlighted that Canada is the only country to have ratified then abandoned the Kyoto Protocol. The Harper government is now actively working to kill the protocol at international climate negotiations – in Cancun in 2010 and now at the upcoming summit in Durban in December 2011.

C-224, An Act to ensure Canada assumes its responsibilities in preventing dangerous climate change, can be read at http://www.parl.gc.ca/LegisInfo/BillDetails.aspx?Language=E&Mode=1&billId=5087216.