Prentice pledges emissions cuts 2.5% above 1990 levels

Brent Patterson
11 years ago
The Canwest News Service reports that, "At a low-key news conference (on January 30) in Calgary, Environment Minister Jim Prentice said Canada’s new goal is to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 17 per cent below its 2005 levels by 2020. He said this puts Canada’s target in step with what is planned in the U.S." "Saturday’s target was unveiled as part of Canada’s formal submission to the Copenhagen Accord..." The Globe and Mail reports today Prentice saying, "We now have formalized that Canada and the United States have the same level of ambition and that we will be moving forward in concert with an identical base year and an identical target." The US target is contained in the Waxman-Markey bill now before the US Senate. "But, if the United States ultimately chooses different targets than what the bill proposes, Mr. Prentice said Canada will also change course - and has left itself some wiggle room to do so. The documents filed with the UN say Canada's goal will 'be aligned with the final economy-wide emission target in the United States in enacted legislation,' said Mr. Prentice." Canwest adds that the new emission target "is a change from policy announced in April 2007, when the Harper government announced it would cut the country’s emissions by 20 per cent (below 2006 levels) by 2020." "According to Ottawa’s 2007 Greenhouse Gas Inventory, this country produced 718 megatonnes of emissions in 2006. The original 20 per cent cut Harper had promised based on 2006 figures would bring national emissions slightly below 1990 levels (about 3 percent) - but not enough to meet its Kyoto obligations." "For a variety of reasons, Canada’s emissions in 2005 were actually higher than 2006 - at 731 megatonnes. So the 17 per cent cut Prentice promised Saturday would bring levels down to 606.73 megatonnes - which is actually 2.5 per cent higher than 1990 levels." "Prentice did not address the change in baseline years Saturday other than to say the federal government has actively sought to align its clean energy and climate change policies with those of the Obama administration. The U.S. government has based its targets on its own 2005 emissions." Canada had previously pledged under the Kyoto accord to a 6 per cent cut in emissions below 1990 by 2012. "Although Canada said it would abide by the terms of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, its greenhouse gas emissions actually increased by about 26 per cent between 1990 and 2007. The U.S. never ratified Kyoto." The Council of Canadians is demanding that the Harper government commit to emission reduction targets of at least 40 per cent below 1990 levels. The full article is at