Thursday, October 19, 2006

The "Made-in-Canada" plan is announced

From the Canadian Press:

Ottawa — The Conservatives released the centrepiece of their “made-in-Canada” environment agenda Thursday — a Clean Air Act that would cut greenhouse gas emissions in half, but not until 2050. The bill, aimed at dispelling the notion that Tories are soft on the environment, sets no short-term targets for cutting greenhouse emissions. In the long term, it says the government will seek to cut emissions by 45 to 65 per cent by 2050.

In the interim, the government will set so-called “intensity targets” which would require industry to reduce the amount of energy used per unit of production, without placing a hard cap on emissions.
Regulations for large polluters would begin in 2010 and the government is giving itself until 2020 to set national emissions-cutting targets for the pollutants that cause smog.

I've written before about the lunacy of shouting out big long term numbers, whether 65% below 2000 levels by 2050 or 80% below 1990 levels by 2050, just one-up others politically and about the folly of intensity-based plans.

Here we may have both. The only way to guarantee reach the big long-term targets is to also establish real near-term reduction targets and an implementation plan that could meet that target. On first reading, the intensity-based targets for the oil industry appear to imply an increase in emissions. If those targets remain in place for another twenty years or so, as is suggested, reaching the 45-65% reduction target by 2050 would be nearly impossible. More on this later.

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