Newspaper article The Canadian Press

At Halfway Mark, Canada Will Push Hard to Hit 2020 Emissions Target: Kent

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

At Halfway Mark, Canada Will Push Hard to Hit 2020 Emissions Target: Kent

Article excerpt

Canada will redouble emissions efforts: Kent


OTTAWA - Confronted by a looming 2020 deadline for curbing greenhouse gas emissions, the Harper government will ramp up its efforts to reduce climate change pollutants, Environment Minister Peter Kent said Wednesday.

Kent made the commitment as he announced that Canada had reached the halfway mark toward meeting its target for cutting emissions from 2005 levels.

Critics, however, say the Conservative government is overstating its accomplishments and understating just how much work is left to be done.

"After six years in power, the federal government's policies still leave a huge gap between where Canada's greenhouse gas emissions are headed and the government's promise to reduce climate pollution," said P.J. Partington, a policy analyst with the Pembina Institute's climate change program.

"Continuing to rely solely on sector-by-sector regulations will be too slow and too inflexible to meaningfully close that gap in the next eight years."

Kent acknowledged that much of the reduction to date has been the result of the combined efforts of environmentally conscious consumers and actions taken by provincial governments.

Canadians are buying more fuel-efficient vehicles and the provinces and territories have been finding ways to encourage both individual Canadians and businesses to use less energy.

But the minister said Ottawa will be stepping up to the plate in the coming months and years to regulate high-emitting industries.

"We do recognize that the provinces have played a part (in reducing emissions)," Kent said.

"But the federal government has played its part and will over the next eight years assume an even larger part in getting those emissions down."

Kent pointed to regulations that are expected in the next few weeks to curb emissions from coal-fired electricity generators. The minister had promised that the regulations would be ready by the end of June, but on Wednesday blamed the delay on opposition antics in the House of Commons and a slow-moving bureaucracy. …

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