The differences between the Canadian and American political systems amaze me.
Whenever anyone mentions greenhouse gas emissions reductions in the States, people argue, journalists rant about dire economic costs, and Senators stand up and say that cap-and-trade is completely unnecessary because CO2 is plant food.
But here in Canada, the government will be voting on greenhouse gas targets next Wednesday, and I didn’t know a thing about it until DeSmogBlog mentioned it. None of the mainstream media outlets or other Canadian climate blogs I follow said a word about it. Maybe they didn’t know either.
Which is really quite strange, seeing as the federal government likes to call a 3% reduction from 1990 levels “aggressive action” and make a whole website about it, featuring a picture of Stephen Harper planting a tree. You’d imagine that, now that they’re considering a cut of 25% from 1990 levels by 2020, and 80% by 2050, they would make sure that every citizen in the country knew how responsible they were being.
The bill is known as C-311, or the Climate Change Accountability Act, and I encourage you to all read it here, it’s not very long. It’s been around for a few years, and even passed through the House once, but it had to restart several times due to various prorogations. Now it’s finally ready to be voted on by the House, and they’re doing that vote on Wednesday.
I’m not sure how much support this bill has from the MPs, but I sure hope it passes, because it would actually put us in line with the EU. Yes, no more number games of shifting around the baseline years – the proposed targets actually fall within the UN’s recommendations to avoid 2 C of warming.
Something even better about these targets, though, is this:
The Minister shall, within six months after this Act receives royal assent, prepare and lay before both Houses of Parliament an interim Canadian greenhouse gas emissions target plan for the years 2015, 2020, 2025, 2030, 2035, 2040 and 2045. The target plan shall
(a) establish a Canadian greenhouse gas emissions target for each of those years;
(b) specify the scientific, economic and technological evidence and analysis used to establish each target, including consideration of the latest reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the most stringent greenhouse gas emissions targets adopted by other national governments; and
(c) show that each target is consistent with a responsible contribution by Canada to the UNFCCC’s ultimate objective of preventing dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system and with Parliament’s strong commitment to the Kyoto Protocol.
Bill C-311 isn’t just an empty promise. It makes the targets that we need attainable. If we could actually pass this, it would be the first time in my short life that I was impressed with the government and felt that politics was doing its job of protecting the interests of its citizens, rather than squabbling and trying to sabotage the other parties.
Update: It passed! Now on to the third reading. If it passes that, it moves to the Senate.