Liberals promise net-zero emissions by 2050 – iPolitics
The Liberal Party upped their climate promises on Tuesday, matching the target of net-zero emissions by 2050 announced by 65 other countries and the EU at the United Nations on Monday.
The new promise brings the Liberals in line with a vow made previously by the federal Green Party, though the Greens have also promised a target of reducing Canada’s 2005 greenhouse gas levels 60 per cent by 2030. The Liberals’ target throughout their last mandate was a 30 per cent reduction by 2030; the party is now announcing an intention to exceed that goal, but they have not publicly identified a new target to reach by 2030.
Their original 30 per cent-by-2030 reduction goal was part of Canada’s 2016 commitment to the global Paris Agreement, which aims to hold global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius. Some concern was raised during the Liberals’ recent term in office about whether the government was on track to reach their targets — including a Parliamentary Budget Officer report saying the Liberals’ carbon tax would have to double by 2030, on top of existing policies, in order to meet their Paris goals. (Catherine McKenna, who served as environment minister and is running again this fall, said at the time that they didn’t plan to increase it.)
READ MORE: Feds rule out increasing carbon tax after 2022 despite PBO report
While details of the party’s plan to reach the new goal were not immediately available, the Liberals have promised to set “legally-binding, five-year milestones” in order to reach their target. The party noted that in a net-zero future, some sectors would still be able to emit carbon pollution, but their emissions would be offset by other actions — offering the example of planting trees.
The Liberals also vowed on Tuesday morning to introduce legislation to give energy workers training and opportunities “in the future economy.” McKenna is scheduled to speak in more detail about the announcement in Ottawa on Tuesday morning, and to take questions from reporters.
The NDP has also pledged to revise Canada’s pollution targets, and to entrench its own emission reduction targets within legislation. The federal Conservatives have neither abandoned the government’s current 30 per cent emissions reduction target, nor fully committed to reaching it —claiming that their environment plan was Canada’s “best chance” to meet the Paris targets.
More to come.
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