Environmentalists welcome the emissions reduction plan, but say it will be vital to ‘keeping politicians’ feet on the fire’.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has presented a $7.3 billion ($9.1 billion CAD) plan to help the country meet its carbon emissions target, including significant reductions in the oil and gas sector.
Speaking in Vancouver on Tuesday, Trudeau linked the europe effort moving away from Russian oil and natural gas after the country’s invasion of Ukraine to a broader global push toward renewable energy.
“The leaders I spoke to in Europe in recent weeks were clear: They don’t just want to end their dependence on Russian oil and gas, they want to accelerate energy transformation to clean, green energy,” Trudeau told reporters.
“The whole world is focusing on clean energy,” he said, “and Canada can’t afford not to.”
The plan announced Tuesday includes an investment of $2.3 billion (C$2.9 billion) in zero-emission vehicles and related infrastructure, as well as $800 million (C$1 billion) for “green” Canadian homes and buildings. .
The government also says it will work closely with provinces and territories to develop an approach to cap emissions from the oil and gas sector to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 and reduce oil and gas methane emissions by at least 75 percent. percent by 2030.
Trudeau has been hailed as an international climate leader, pledging to cut Canada’s emissions and invest in cleaner energy. But his liberal government has been criticized for support the expansion of oil pipelines and other energy projects that critics say would worsen the climate crisis.
Last year, the Liberals set a new target of cutting carbon emissions 40 to 45 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. But an independent parliamentary watchdog concluded that Ottawa had not done enough to achieve that goal, after analyzing decades of government climate action that produced an increase in emissions.
Environment Commissioner Jerry DeMarco said in November that Canada was ranked the “worst performer” among the G7 industrialized nations in reducing emissions.
Although Canada accounts for about 1.6 percent of global CO2 emissions, it is among the top 10 emitters globally and one of the largest emitters per capita.
Trudeau’s new emissions reduction plan comes just days after his government last week Announced It would boost oil and gas exports this year by as much as 300,000 barrels a day, an increase of about 5 percent.
The move, Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said last Thursday, was aimed at helping Canada’s allies respond to “an energy security crisis” caused by Russia’s continued invasion of ukraine.
Canada, home to the tar sands of northern Alberta, is the world’s fourth-largest oil producer after Russia, Saudi Arabia and the US, and for weeks pro-oil Canadian politicians have called for the expansion of fossil fuel projects in response to the Ukraine crisis.
Environmentalists on Tuesday welcomed the Ottawa plan but said they would closely watch its implementation.
“The new government plan marks the first time the oil and gas sector has been asked to significantly reduce emissions, even if it is still not enough and is more focused on public funding of risky technology solutions than the proven solution. of the clean energy transition,” Keith Stewart, senior energy strategist at Greenpeace Canada, said in a statement.
“Given three decades of successful oil industry lobbying against the implementation of previous climate plans, it is vital that people put their feet in the fire for all politicians to ensure they force the industry to do its fair share. . We need real action this time.”
Canada’s West Coast Environmental Law Association also said the plan doesn’t show “a complete path” toward the promised reductions, but it was a good step that provides more accountability to ensure the government lives up to its commitments.
“Canada has not met all of the climate goals it has set for itself,” Anna Johnston, a lawyer for the group, said in a statement. “Hopefully, we will stay on track and even increase our ambition to the 60 per cent reduction needed so that we can do our fair share globally.”
— Greenpeace Canada (@GreenpeaceCA) March 29, 2022