At an international climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged today that Canada would aggressively curb greenhouse gas emissions over the next decade.
Trudeau said Canada will reduce emissions by 40 to 45 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, a target much lower than the one first pitched by the former Conservative government and agreed to by former environment minister Catherine McKenna at the Paris climate talks in 2015.
Canada has long maintained it would slash emissions by 30 per cent by 2030. In real terms, which would mean lowering GHG emissions from 732 megatonnes to 513 megatonnes.
Speaking at the summit, Trudeau said Canada is “now on track to blow past our old target.” With today’s more ambitious commitment, Canada is forecasting emissions will drop to at least 439 megatonnes by the end of this decade.
Trudeau said countries around the world must heed the advice of climate scientists to do more to prevent catastrophic increases in global temperatures.
“Our priority continues to be battling COVID-19, we rely on science to save lives and develop vaccines, but we must also listen to climate science, which tells us we’re facing an existential threat,” Trudeau said.
He conceded it may be tough for Canada, a major energy producer, to cut emissions so deeply, but he said all countries must rise to the challenge.
“Only bold climate policies lead to bold results,” he said, listing off some of the government’s green-friendly policies like investments in public transit and clean energy, a ban on single-use plastics and a promise to plant two billion trees.
“We will continually strengthen our plan and take even more action.”
A recent report from Environment and Climate Change Canada found Canada’s emissions were headed in the wrong direction.
In 2019, Canada produced 730 megatonnes of carbon dioxide emissions in 2019, an increase of one megatonne — or 0.2 per cent — over 2018.
The government department found emissions are down just 1.1 per cent compared to that 2005 baseline of 732 megatonnes, but the report suggests Canada is making progress.
The Liberal government did not release a new plan today to explain how exactly it intends to get to that 40 per cent reduction.