On Friday (May 15) Canada’s Environment Minister Leona Agglukaq announced plans to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emission by 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 at a conference in Winnipeg. The pledge to reduce emissions is the country’s intended nationally determined contribution (INDC) for the UNFCCC.
The announcement comes a couple of months after Canada reportedly turned down an invitation to jointly announce climate policy cooperation with Mexico and the US, when the two countries submitted their INDCs on back-to-back days.
In her announcement of Canada’s commitment, Agglukaq said, “This target is fair and ambitious, an ambitious commitment based on our national circumstances, which includes a growing population, a diversified growing economy and Canada’s position as a world leader in clean-electricity generation.” According to its INDC, Canada is responsible for 1.6 percent of GHG emissions globally, but produces nearly 80 percent of electricity without generating any GHGs. New rules to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas sector, new rules to control emissions from the electricity sector, and new standards to lower emissions from the chemical sector are anticipated to help Canada reach its emissions reductions targets.
Additionally, Canada is counting on emission reductions by the provinces, such as Ontario’s pledge to reduce GHGs by 37 percent below 1990 levels, to help meet its goal. Agglukaq noted, “Achieving this ambitious goal will require actions from all levels of government and we will continue to work together, cooperatively with the provinces and the territories’ goals while respecting their jurisdiction.”
Critics argue that Canada’s commitment is too weak, that it fails to address tar sands, and that the country is not even on track to meet its current target of reducing emissions by 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. CBC News reported that the country may have to rely on buying carbon credits to meet the commitment.
Other recent INDC (submitted after the first informal deadline of March 31 expired) include Andorra, Gabon, and Liechtenstein. Andorra has pledged to reduce GHG emission by 37 percent by 2030 based on a reduction of net GHG emissions compared to a business as usual scenario in 2030. Gabon has pledged a more than 50 percent reduction in GHGs by 2025 compared to an uncontrolled development scenario in 2025. Liechtenstein has pledged to reduce emission by 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.
(Image: Canada’s Environment Minister Leona Agglukaq, opening the founding meeting of the Arctic Economic Council, Sept 2, 2014. Photo credit: DFATD | MAECD/Flickr)