Ottawa: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is set to announce today what Canada’s new targets will be for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by the end of the decade.
The government says he will unveil the targets during a virtual address to world leaders convened by U.S. President Joe Biden for a summit on fighting climate change.
Trudeau will speak at a session which the U.S. State Department says is where leaders will discuss their country’s situation and “announce new steps to strengthen climate ambition.”
Vice-President Kamala Harris and Biden opened the event with the United States pledging its new targets: Cutting its greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 below 2005 levels.
Other speakers include the leaders of China, the European Commission, United Kingdom and India.
Canada enters the event as Biden is trying to advance America’s efforts on fighting climate change and has focused billions in spending to promote electric vehicles.
Like Biden, Trudeau is under pressure from different groups to bring forward a higher emissions reduction target.
Different climate organizations and some opposition parties want Trudeau to cut emissions of heat-trapping gases by at least 50 to 60 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.
Ahead of the summit, seven environmental groups released a report with modelling that says to limit global warming to 1.5 C degrees compared to pre-industrial levels, Canada should double the 30 per cent commitment it signed in the Paris Agreement.
The Liberals say existing measures promise to lower Canada’s emissions by 36 per cent for 2030, and help it achieve net-zero by mid-century.
Clean Prosperity, a climate policy organization, has said it could see Canada adopt a new target of between 40 to 50 per cent in recognition of the economic challenges around a clean energy transition and people employed in the fossil fuel sector.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh expressed concerns about the Liberals keeping their climate promises on Wednesday.
“I am concerned that the Liberals will set a target and not meet it, and that’s why we’ve been saying we need better accountability,” Singh said.
In a letter to Liberal Environment and Climate Change Minster Jonathan Wilkinson, Singh called for the government to adopt a 50 per cent goal, while the Greens say it should be 60.
Conservative environment critic Dan Albas touted his own party’s new climate plan, which for the first time contains a consumer carbon price, in a statement.
“The Liberal government has repeatedly announced new climate targets in the past six months without showing how they will actually reach them,” Albas said in a statement.
“Announcing targets is easy, showing how they will reach them is what matters.”
The summit comes as parliamentarians debate Bill C-12 which, if passed, would mean the federal environment minister has to set rolling, five-year targets for cutting carbon emissions starting in 2030 and ending in 2050.
Before Thursday’s event, Wilkinson penned a letter to federal party leaders asking them to say what they want Canada’s new emissions target to be, and underscoring the need for co-operation on “raising our ambition.”
By Stephanie Taylor
The Canadian Press