Canada sets new climate target to slash emissions by 40 to 45 per cent by 2030
|Toronto Star 22 Apr 2021 at 09:24|
OTTAWA—Canada will now strive to slash greenhouse gas emissions by 40 to 45 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declared Thursday, marking a significant increase in climate ambition that still falls short of new targets set by peer countries like the United Kingdom and United States.
Trudeau declared the new target on the first day of a virtual climate summit hosted by U.S. President Joe Biden. Until now, Canada had maintained the goal set by the previous Conservative government — 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 — though Trudeau’s Liberals have promised since 2019 that they would exceed it.
Now that pledge comes with a new official goal, as Trudeau described climate change as an “existential threat” for humanity.
The aim of the summit is to rally countries around the world to slash emissions more deeply over the next nine years and prevent the catastrophic extremes of climate change by limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees C above pre-industrial temperatures.
“The signs are unmistakable, the science is undeniable, and the cost of inaction keeps mounting,” Biden said at the opening of the summit Thursday morning. He described a “moral imperative” to act against this threat, and confirmed the United States will now aim to reduce its emissions in half by the end of the decade — a significant escalation of its previous target of around 27 per cent below 2005 levels by 2025.
“No nation can solve this crisis on their own,” Biden said. “All of us, and particularly those of us who represent the world’s largest economies, we have to step up.”
Xi Jinping, China’s president, told the summit his country — the world’s top emitter — will hit “peak” emissions within the decade and hit net-zero before 2060. He also called on rich countries to do more and help poorer nations in the push to shift away from fossil fuels.
Canada’s new target follows other countries that declared increased ambition to cut emissions earlier this week. The United Kingdom will now aim to slash greenhouse gas pollution to 78 per cent below 1990 levels by 2030, and the European Union is pushing for 55 per cent below 1990 levels by then.
Japan also announced Thursday that it will aim to cut emissions almost in half by 2030, a significant increase from its previous goal of 26 per cent below 2013 levels by 2030.
After tabling its new budget this week, the Liberal government claims Canada is already on track to cut emissions to 36 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, as it pushes along with the U.S. and a host of other countries to achieve “net-zero” emissions by the middle of the century.
Since 2015, when the Trudeau Liberals took power, Canada has implemented a national minimum carbon price that is set to climb from $40 per tonne of emissions this year to $170 per tonne in 2030. It is also creating regulations to require cleaner fuel, restrict methane leaks from oil and gas production, and spending tens of billions of dollars in the coming years on public transit, the promotion of green technology, and programs to help heavy industries reduce their greenhouse gas pollution.
Canada’s national emissions, however, have barely budged since 2005. According to the most recent tally submitted this month to the United Nations, Canada’s emissions dropped 1.1 per cent from 2005 to 2019.