Canada's Greenhouse Gas Plan Rapped by Govt Panel
Author: David Ljunggren
Harper introduced the plan this year to replace the Kyoto
protocol on climate change, which he said imposed impossible
targets on Canada. He aims to bring greenhouse gas emissions 20
percent below current levels by 2020.
But the National Roundtable on the Environment and the
Economy said important parts of the plan were vague and
exaggerated the extent of emissions cuts.
In a report released late on Friday, the group pointed to
inconsistencies in the government's calculations and said some
of the data was either too murky or too skimpy.
It said that while the plan would result in "significant
emissions reductions and contributions to future emissions
reductions," the methodology used to calculate the cuts
"represents an important inconsistency in accounting for
Green groups and opposition parties say Canada should stick
to its Kyoto targets, which call for a 6 percent cut in
Canadian emissions from 1990 levels by 2012.
Data for 2004, the latest year available, shows emissions
were around 35 percent above the 2012 Kyoto target. Much of the
increase took place while the previous Liberal government was
in power, from late 1993 to early 2006.
Environment Minister John Baird, accusing the Liberals of
ignoring the problem, noted that the report agreed Ottawa's
plan would result in major cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.
"This will take decades ... . We're working every single
day to push this file forwards," he told Reuters in an
interview. "The enormity of the task won't be met by putting
out one plan on one day."
Environmentalists say even if the new plan meets all its
targets, emissions in 2020 will be 11 percent above where they
should have been in 2012 under Kyoto.
Harper, who favors cutting emissions at a gentler pace, is
due to speak about climate change on the sidelines of the UN
General Assembly in New York on Monday.
He says that if the international community adopted
Canada's tactics it could strike a climate change deal that
included such major polluters as China, which has no binding
targets under Kyoto.