Recently a report was released by the International Institute for Sustainable Development. The report examined the Canadian federal government’s progress with regards to reaching its 2020 targets on greenhouse gas reductions. The target that has been set by the government is to reach a 17 percent reduction over 2005 greenhouse gas levels. The report found that while the government is currently on track to meet their goals, it will have to push a little harder to reach these targets comfortably.
The IISD is a Geneva-based group that advises the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. The group advised that while the government has taken many steps to move in the right direction, more controversial approaches need to be examined, such as a federal carbon tax or national cap-and-trade systems. The report noted that these options have politically been off the table for quite some time.
This seems counter intuitive when considering the current public opposition to additional energy development efforts by corporations within the country. More specifically, there is ongoing opposition to hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and the heated protests surrounding the Keystone XL pipeline slated to transport crude oil from the Alberta Tar sands to refineries in Texas. It seems that the Canadian public are for the most part in opposition to actions that would increase Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions and harm the environment, and would support additional movements by the federal government to reduce these emissions through stronger industry regulation.
The report goes on to highlight some initiatives that have been in use widely across the Country for years, such as the home owner retrofit programs and carbon capture and storage demonstration projects. These programs have been in place for years and proven very popular. However with budget cuts being handed down across the board, the retrofitting program is slated to expire March 31st with no plans for it to be renewed.
Instead of stepping around political footballs and publically endorsing the Keystone XL pipeline, the government should be endorsing clean energy companies and funding programs like the ecoEnergy Retrofit programs that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The government should stop forcing natural gas and other energy resource development on communities that don’t want it, and instead take a stand for renewable energy and enforce legislation to reduce the green house gas emissions in industries. Programs like that will not only boost local economies and green energy jobs sectors, but will be the additional steps in the right direction that are needed by Canada to meet the 2020 greenhouse gas emissions targets.