There is now a broad scientific consensus that more than 2°C of average global warming above the pre-industrial level would constitute a dangerous level of climate change. The science indicates that to have a chance of not exceeding the 2°C limit, industrialized countries need to reduce their combined emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) to 25-40 per cent below the 1990 level by 2020, if they are to make a fair contribution to the necessary cuts in global emissions.
The Government of Canada's current GHG target of 20 per cent below the 2006 level by 2020 is a much more modest reduction of just three percent relative to the 1990 level. However, as it is the government's current commitment, it is important to understand what policies would be needed to achieve this target.
The Pembina Institute and the David Suzuki Foundation therefore commissioned an in-depth study of federal and provincial government policies to allow Canada to meet a "2°C target" to reduce GHG emissions to 25 per cent below the 1990 level by 2020, based on the science outlined above, as well as the federal government's current target.
The analysis shows that with strong federal and provincial government policies, Canada can meet the 2°C emissions target in 2020 and still have a strong growing economy, a quality of life higher than Canadians enjoy today, and continued steady job creation across the country. The analysis also shows that the federal government needs to implement far stronger policies than it has proposed to date to meet its current GHG target.
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