Friday, March 30, 2012

Canada's unrealistic greenhouse gas target

Over the past couple years, plenty of policy experts have stated that there is little chance that Canada will meets its 2020 greenhouse gas target (17% below 2005 levels, which is ~3% below 1990 levels) without a serious, and unlikely change in federal policy. I've been rather blunt about this myself:

It is harder to find a seat at a Canucks game than to find an expert who thinks the mix of existing and proposed federal regulations and policies will come close to achieving even the government's own weak emissions target for the year 2020, let alone the much lower target set in the Kyoto Protocol.

For readers not familiar enough with Vancouver's love for the Canucks to appreciate the analogy, the local hockey team just sold out is 400th consecutive game.

The strident nature of comments like mine might take away from an important point. The conclusion comes from the government's own analysis.

Here's a figure from last year's report by the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy (NTREE) as a part of Canada's reporting obligations under the Kyoto Protocol. Even in the "policy" scenario in the Environment Canada model (the green line), greenhouse gas emissions are ~30% over the government's own target.

If you're never heard of the NRTEE, it's job, since 1993, has been to "help Canada achieve sustainable development solutions that integrate environmental and economic considerations to ensure the lasting prosperity and well-being of our nation" through preparing reports, convening perspectives from all sides of issues, and offering advice to the government on "how best to reconcile the often divergent challenges of economic prosperity and environmental conservation". The NRTEE was cut in yesterday's budget.


Greg said...

Just an English usage comment re the Canucks analogy.

Saying "It's harder to [do something really hard] than to find an expert who thinks ..." doesn't work like you want. It sets an upper bound of difficulty only. It might actually be really easy to find the expert.

You wanted to say "Finding an expert who thinks ... is harder than finding a seat at a Canucks game."

Simon Donner said...

That's a fine argument for crowd-sourced copy editing. The crowd often finds errors that a single editor will miss.

Alexander Ac said...

That is supossed to be funny?

Well, Canada is being more and more discredited, unfortunately, see this "To The Last Drop" documentary about tar sands...