Canada to miss 2020 climate target: audit


Ottawa (AFP)

Canada will likely miss a 2020 interim carbon emissions reduction target and will need to take strong measures if it further hopes to meet its Paris agreement commitment, said an audit released Tuesday.

Canada had set a target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions linked to global warming by 17 percent by 2020, from 2005 levels, and by 30 percent by 2030.

But Environment Commissioner Julie Gelfand said in a report that emissions are expected to be nearly 20 percent above the target for 2020.

Based on current efforts by the provinces and territories tasked with implementing the cuts, she said, "Canada is not expected to meet its 2020 target."

She added that "meeting Canada's 2030 target will require substantial effort and actions beyond those currently planned or in place."

The audit looked at nine of Canada's 10 provinces as well as its three Arctic territories. Quebec was excluded, but a similar recent audit found comparable results.

Gelfand said most of the governments in question either had an adaptation plan that lacked basic details, such as timelines, or had no plan at all.

Only the Atlantic Maritime provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia appeared to be on track to meeting their objectives.

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna welcomed the report, but said it is "backwards looking" and does not take into account a federal climate plan unveiled last year.

"We're already seeing measurable results, but it takes time," she told reporters.

The minister cited measures including the closing of coal-fired power plants, multi-billion dollar investments in public transit, and the pricing of CO2 emissions at Can$10 (US$7.80) and rising to Can$50 per tonne in 2022.

The Paris pact, adopted in 2015 by almost 200 nations, calls for capping the global warming rise at well below 2 C (3.6 F) to avoid a climate-addled future of extreme drought, deadly heatwaves and superstorms made more destructive by rising seas.

US President Donald Trump announced last year that his country would withdraw from the Paris pact.