by Ian Angus
The Pembina Institute’s Analysis of the Government of Canada’s April 2007 Greenhouse Gas Policy Announcement, written by Dr. Matthew Bramley, mostly uses diplomatic language, but it doesn’t shrink from calling Environment Minster Baird’s claims “misleading,” and even “highly misleading.”
Pembina’s report generally confirms the points I made last week, but covers much more ground, including a summary of 20 “unresolved issues” that Baird’s so-called regulatory framework glosses over or doesn’t mention at all. Until those issues are dealt with, Bramley writes, “existing loopholes risk being opened wider or new ones risk being created.”
A few highlights from the Pembina report:
- ”[Baird’s targets] fall far short of (i) requirements based on our scientific knowledge of climate change, (ii) targets adopted by the developed countries making the strongest GHG reduction commitments, and (iiii) Canada’s legal obligations under the Kyoto Protocol.”
- ”The government has provided no explanation as to how it expects to meet its target for national emissions to peak during 2010–12. Without measures additional to those the government has announced to date, the short term target can only be met if there is a unexpected and dramatic slowing of the business-as-usual increase in emissions.”
- ”The “backloading” of actual reductions towards the end of the period up to 2020 reduces environmental benefits and diminishes the likelihood of emissions actually being reduced in 2020 to the extent claimed, given that the framework will be subject to a review in 2012.”
- ”Both the environmental benefits of the regulatory framework, and the likelihood of industrial emissions actually being reduced by 2020 to the extent claimed by the government, are further weakened by some of the compliance options that industry will be allowed to use in the first several years after the framework enters into force (2010). These options — notably, payments into the technology fund and an early action credit — will allow industry to achieve ‘paper reductions’ that will not correspond to immediate reductions in actual emissions.”
- ”But a sector such as oil sands, where production is skyrocketing, will be able to meet its target while dramatically increasing its actual emissions. According to the [government’s] Technical Briefing, the oil sands sector will have to reduce its emissions intensity by 23% overall between 2006 and 2020. But according to the industry’s own projections, production will approximately quadruple during that period. The net result will be an approximate tripling of actual emissions in the sector.”
Minister Baird publicly expressed his annoyance when Al Gore called his plan “a complete and total fraud.” Obviously the truth hurts.
Meanwhile, Friends of the Earth Canada, represented by the Sierra Legal Defense Fund, has launched a lawsuit in Federal Court, charging that “the federal government is violating Canadian law by failing to meet its binding international commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
“The lawsuit is an application for judicial review and alleges that the government’s failure to effectively regulate greenhouse gases is likely to violate the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol. This violation of international law contravenes section 166 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, which states that Canada must abide by its international agreements in preventing pollution.”
More about the case, including the full text of the Court application, is available on the Friends of Earth Canada website.