Net-zero goal: Canada govt seeks carbon neutrality by 2050

GOLDSTEIN: Awaiting Trudeau's Alice in Wonderland climate law

The bill was tabled by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau earlier this week, but he does not have a sustainable plan. While the largest corporations contribute overwhelmingly to global greenhouse gas emissions, the rise in unemployment and reduced hours as a result of the economic downturn has decreased climate change issues.

While environmental groups may celebrate the tabling of this bill, they will lobby for amendments to strengthen it. Catherine Abreu, executive director of Climate Action Network Canada, called this proposed legislation is "a big step in the right direction".

Even the Trudeau government's own wildly optimistic projection past year - assuming everything it says it plans to do works - predicts Canada will miss its 2030 target by 77 million tonnes of emissions. The report released Monday expects the domestic and global hydrogen markets have the potential to be worth "$100 billion per year or more."The report highlights five facilities immediately north of Edmonton that produce hydrogen, including Shell Canada Ltd.'s Scotford refining complex, the NorthWest Refinery and a Nutrien Ltd. fertilizer plant.In total, the province produces 2,250 tonnes of hydrogen per day from hydrocarbons such as oil and gas.

More than 120 countries have committed to net-zero emissions by 2050 such as the U.K., Germany, Italy, France, and Japan.

An emissions-reduction plan, progress report and assessment report on each would need to be tabled in the house, and the bill orders the environment commissioner to audit Canada's climate change mitigation measures at least once every five years. The environment minister would simply have to report the failure to Parliament.

She said to live up to its title, the bill will need to set specific carbon budgets for how much Canada can emit each year, decide where those emissions are going to come from, and then show the ways to hit those budgets.

But she said a 2025 target and a stronger 2030 goal are musts if the current government - not just future ones - is to be held to account.

Speaking to reporters, Trudeau acknowledged that the legislation would not in itself force future governments to meet the 2050 target.

If future governments fail to meet the targets outlined in the plan, they will be required to justify what hindered their achievement and detail how to reverse the trend, although no legally binding sanctions are to be enforced as the proposal now stands. He said accountability for meeting those targets would ultimately be carried out by voters, who increasingly support stricter climate change policies.

Goldy Hyder, head of the Business Council of Canada, also applauded the new legislation, but also called for a more "coherent, cost-effective plan that clearly sets out the responsibilities of governments, businesses and Canadians in reducing GHG emissions between now and 2050". A previous version also said the proposed climate legislation is Bill C-15.

"There is a difference between legislating a target and legislating climate accountability", said Abreu.

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