Government is taking credit for provincial action
VANCOUVER - The federal government is misleading Canadians with its latest report on greenhouse gas emissions trends. Despite the claims made by Environment Minister Peter Kent, the government has done very little to achieve its weak targets.
"The federal government is attempting to take credit for climate change action taken by the provinces, while gutting and cutting programs and institutions that had been helping with climate policy," says Ian Bruce, David Suzuki Foundation climate change and clean energy specialist.
As noted in the David Suzuki Foundation report "All Over the Map 2012: A Comparison of Provincial Climate Change Plans", much of Canada's emissions reductions can be attributed to provincial initiatives such as Ontario's phase out of coal-fired power, Nova Scotia's regulations to cap and reduce coal emissions, B.C.'s carbon tax incentive for clean energy, and Quebec's public transit improvements.
Meanwhile, the government has cut institutions such as the national Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, and been criticized by the Office of the Auditor General of Canada for the lack of a clear plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In October 2011, the Environment Commissioner reported that the federal government's strategy is "disjointed, confused and non transparent" and that the government's policies are now projected to be 90 per cent weaker than they were in 2007.
The figures released today by the federal government are also based on revised baselines and accounting rules for greenhouse gas pollution.
"Rather than trying to put a positive spin on its lack of accountability on the environment, the federal government should join forces with leading provincial governments to help Canada become a world leader in solving global warming," Bruce says. "With this summer shaping up to be the hottest on record, Canadians need and deserve real action on global warming, which would provide numerous economic and health benefits. The government must start representing the interests of all Canadians and not just the oil industry."
For more information, contact:
Climate Change and Clean Energy Specialist
604-732-4228, X 1238