Mon. Nov 29th, 2021

Canada is’ the worst priest of all G7 nations’ in the fight against climate change, says the Commissioner’s report, which strikes a serious blow at the Liberals’ environmental credentials

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OTTAWA – Canada has become “the worst priest of all the G7 nations” in the fight against climate change and continues to go from “failure to failure” as it plays a “major role in the dangerous accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.”

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This grim warning was put forward by none other than Canada’s Commissioner for Environment and Sustainable Development Jerry V. DeMarco in his latest gruesome report on the country’s “action and passivity” in the face of climate change over three decades, and especially since the Paris Agreement in 2015.

“Canada was once a leader in the fight against climate change. But after a series of missed opportunities, it has become the worst priest of all G7 nations since the landmark Paris agreement on climate change was adopted in 2015,” DeMarco said in a statement on Thursday.

“We can not continue to go from failure to failure; we need action and results, not just more goals and plans. “

The report from the Federal Environmental Watchdog gives a significant blow to both the country’s and the Trudeau government’s environmental credentials, namely because it points out Canada’s poor performance in combating climate change since the Liberals were first elected in 2015.

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Canada’s current target is committed to reducing emissions by 36 percent compared to 2005 levels by 2030, although the Liberal government has committed to raising that target to 40 to 45 percent.

“Will Canada finally turn around and do its part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?” asks the Commissioner at the beginning of his report, which he does not describe as a revision, but as a “historical perspective” on the country’s actions to mitigate climate change.

“Despite government-to-government commitments to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the past three decades, Canada has failed to translate these commitments into real reductions in net emissions. Instead, Canada’s emissions continue to rise,” the commissioner said.

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The Liberal government defended its record after the reports were made public, with Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault and Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson arguing that much had been done since their party first came to power in 2015.

“In 2015, Canada’s emissions were on a steep rise, expected to be 12 percent higher in 2030 than they were in 2005, despite Canada’s international commitment to reduce emissions by 30 percent by 2030. The Commissioner’s retrospective analysis of Canada’s record of “Climate change efforts paint a vivid picture of the gigantic commitment of the Government of Canada in 2016 to curb, halt and reverse this upward trend in emissions,” they said in a joint statement.

Their statement also insisted that the commissioner’s analysis did not take into account “more than a hundred” measures which they say also directly affect greenhouse gas emissions, such as financing for the conversion of residential and commercial buildings and “pollution prices”.

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In its analysis, DeMarco points to a host of recent decisions by the Liberal government that it considers inconsistent with meeting Canada’s climate commitments, such as investing in the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion or applying “minimum” carbon price requirements across the country.

In another passage, which he tacitly admits will be met with criticism in certain parts of the country, the commissioner also notes that Canada’s “growing” oil and gas production is a “key barrier” to the country’s climate goals.

His analysis notes that Canada’s oil and gas sector accounted for up to 7.8 percent of the country’s gross domestic product employed hundreds of thousands of people in 2019, but also accounted for just over a quarter (26 percent) of the country’s total emissions that year.

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“Because of this competing pressure, aggressive climate policies are facing not only climate skepticism but also setbacks from the interests of the electricity industry,” he wrote in the report.

During a press conference, he said that Canada is currently at a crossroads and both society and the government have some difficult decisions to make.

“The choices are difficult. One leads to disaster that we all want to avoid, which is a continuing warming climate. Reaching a net-zero economy will involve some difficult decisions and some difficult transitions, but it is better than just giving up and leave our children with a compromised planet, ”summed up DeMarco.

“If that’s our heritage, then we have failed.”

Over three decades, Canada’s climate goals and commitments, such as the goals of the Paris Agreement to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to 30 percent below 2005 levels, have rarely or ever been supported by real plans or actions, DeMarco said.

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This also applies to the Trudeau government’s new, more ambitious goal of reducing emissions by up to 45 percent within two decades.

“If past performance is the best indicator of future performance, then history is not good,” DeMarco said. “We’ve had several plans, nine plans, over the last 31 years, from 1990 to now, and none of them have reached their goal.”

To respond adequately to the climate crisis, the commissioner’s office published eight “lessons” that it says will help Canada learn from “past failures” and address its climate change.

  • Developing stronger leadership and coordination between levels of government to combat climate change
  • Transition away from emission-intensive sectors
  • Adapting the country’s infrastructure to the “worst” effects of climate change, such as floods and forest fires
  • Increase investment to support climate goals
  • Increased awareness of climate change
  • Implementation of “strong” actions to achieve climate goals
  • Increased cooperation with non-state actors to find climate solutions
  • Act quickly before the window to resolve the “intergenerational crisis” closes

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Another issue highlighted by separate revisions by the Commissioner is the inefficiency or complete uselessness of certain environmental programs that the Liberals have put in place to reduce emissions, namely the onshore program of the Emission Reduction Fund.

The commissioner found that the Natural Resource Canada’s program, a $ 675 million pandemic support program that provided interest-free loans to companies in the oil and gas sector to preserve jobs and reduce gas emissions, did none of these things.

“I am disappointed with both the design and implementation of the Emission Reduction Fund,” which did not create any value for the money spent, DeMarco said. He was also very disappointed with the department’s response to his audit because it could not recognize all of its findings or commit to changes that he felt were necessary.

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