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CANADA'S CLIMATE CHANGE POLICY

WHERE WE'RE AT

-2008: Canada is ranked 7th in the world in terms of total carbon dioxide emissions world wide with 544,091,000 metric tons of annual emissions (1.8% of global total)

-In comparison:

#1 China (7,031,916,000 tons, 23.33% of global total)

#2 USA (5,461,014,000 tons, 18.11% of global total)

#3 India (1,742,698,000 tons, 5.78% of global total)

#6 Germany (786,660,000 tons, 2.61% of global total)



POLICIES, PAST AND PRESENT

Domestically

Kyoto Protocol: ratified by Liberal Party Prime Minister Jean Chrétien in 2002; 2007 & on: Stephen Harpers's government has done little to cut emissions

Copenhagen Accord: Goal of 17% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions 2005 to 2020

The Copenhagen Accord is not legally binding, but endorses the continuation of the Kyoto Protocol after 2012; “taken note of on Dec 18, 2009” (United States and China took part)

Turning the Corner Plan

- introduced April 2007 by John Baird, then Minister of the Environment

    • Initial Goal: reduce Canada's greenhouse gas emissions by 20% relative to 2006 levels by 2020, and reductions of 60 to 70 percent below 2006 levels by 2050

    • The plan which mainly starts in 2010 uses intensity based targets for industry, which will start in 2010.All covered industrial sectors will be required to reduce their emissions intensity from 2006 levels by 18% by 2010, with 2% continuous improvement every year after that

    • criticized because it does not reach Kyoto targets & has intensity based targets

→ Sector by Sector Approach:

    • New common North American standards for greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles

    • Regulation of coal-fired electricity generation

    • As of Dec. 15, 2010: Gasoline required to contain an avg. of 5% renewable content (2% for diesel)

    • Global leader in the development of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technologies; possibility of 5-6 large scale demonstration projects

    • Founding member of the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases, an international network of 30 countries

    • Agricultural Greenhouse Gases Program (AGGP) to advance research, technology transfer and management practices

    • 2011: $58 million investment over 2 years“to help Canadians adapt to a changing climate,” supporting federal projects and providing information on climate change

Most provinces have their own plans, most want to reduce 2005 levels by 15-33% by 2020; only Alberta wants to let emissions rise until 2020, and then reduce them 14% of 2005 levels by 2050 (Alberta has the fastest rising emissions levels from 1990-2008, aside from Saskatchewan with at 43% increase over that time span).

-2010: Canada, Russia & Japan stated that they would not take on further Kyoto targets



Internationally

-active participant in the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate (MEF), an initiative launched in March 2009 by American President Barack Obama to bring together the world's 17 largest emitters to advance key issues under consideration in international climate change negotiations.

-Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)

As part of Canada's 2009 commitment under the Copenhagen Accord on climate change, the Canadian government is providing $400 million in fast-start climate change financing for the 2010-2011 fiscal year. This is Canada's largest-ever contribution to international efforts to address climate change. The funding will support three key areas in which Canada has considerable expertise: adaptation, clean energy, and forests. Priorities:


EFFECTIVENESS

- Website states: The Canadian Government seems convinced that its climate change policy is effective, stating that “Federal measures, combined with actions taken by provinces, have brought us one quarter of the way towards our 2020 target.”

-August 2011: National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy (NRTEE), a government-appointed think tank, finds that Canada would not reach its 2012 goal of reducing emissions by 54 million tons, only reaching about 27 million tons, nearly half of the government's estimate



DROPPING OUT OF THE KYOTO PROTOCOL

  • Under the Kyoto Protocol, Canada had been committed to reducing emissions by 6% below 1990 levels by 2012; by 2009 emission levels where already 17% higher than in 1990

  • Kyoto Protocol had been agreed upon by a liberal government; the conservatives under Harper after made clear that they would not follow it

  • Dec. 12, 2011: Canada invokes its right to withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol; Environment minister Peter Kent cites the threat of “enormous financial penalties”

  • "The Kyoto Protocol does not represent the path forward for Canada," “"To meet the target under 2012 would be the equivalent of either removing every car, truck, ATV, tractor, ambulance, police car and vehicle of every kind from Canadian roads, or closing down the entire farming and agricultural sector and cutting heat to every home, office, hospital, factory and building in Canada." -Environment Minister Peter Kent

  • Following the US, which didn't ratify the Kyoto Protocol, because economies are closely intertwined

  • Saves $14 billion in penalties


LOOKING AHEAD

-2011 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa (Nov. 28-Dec. 11, 2011): agreement to work out a legally binding deal comprising all countries by 2015, which will take effect in 2020.

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