Canada under pressure to turn GHG policy talk into action
A key theme of the federal government's climate change strategy in the past few months has been to align Canada closely with the U.S. In so doing, the government's goal is to ensure that our vital trade relationship with the U.S. is maintained. Harmonization with the U.S. is seen as a key competitive advantage for Canada. However, a new report from PowerUP Canada concludes that "Canada is not matching U.S. efforts, that our delay in doing so already has serious implications, and that every moment we fall further behind increases the cost and missed opportunity for Canadians."
The following are the reports key observations:
If Canada's only goal in harmonizing with the U.S. is to avoid punitive border adjustments (i.e., carbon tariffs), the above conclusions suggest that setting similar reduction targets for the purposes of the Copenhagen negotiation may not get the job done. Even if Canada matches the US's Copenhagen target, the US may make even deeper emissions cuts and may nevertheless be inclined to protect its industry from its (relatively) dirty neighbour to the north. If Canada's goals also include ensuring that Canada competes in a clean energy, carbon constrained world, the above conclusions also suggest that Canada is being seriously outpaced by the US.
In a related note, Green Cross International's Climate Change Task Force and PowerUP Canada (again) delivered a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper calling on him to "dispel perceptions of defeatism" about the climate change file and to "rally the Canadian people" to build an economy powered by clean energy.
The letter, which was jointly signed by Mikhail Gorbachev, The Rt. Hon. Kim Campbell and prominent Canadian business leaders, scientists and artists, again focuses on the growing "clean energy" competitiveness gap: "Currently Canada does not have a consistent price signal or sustained national incentives for the deployment of clean energy. Recent studies by the UN and HSBC show that Canada lags the G20 in deploying green stimulus. Canada is missing the economic opportunity of the twenty-first century."
Regardless of what Canada commits to internationally, it appears that the federal government has much work to do domestically on the climate change and green energy file.