Saturday, May 16, 2015

Canada Sets Goal to Cut Emissions by 2030

Canadian oil sands installations in Alberta. (Credit: Kris Krug/flickr) Click to Enlarge.
Canada is planning to cut its greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent below 2005 levels over the next 15 years, following the European Union and the U.S. in setting an emissions reduction target ahead of the Paris international climate negotiations in December.

The Canadian target, announced Friday, is weaker than the EU’s goal to slash emissions by 40 percent below 1990 levels over the next 15 years.  The U.S. target, formalized in March, aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions up to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.  The Obama administration also plans to cut emissions from coal-fired power plants 30 percent below 2005 levels over the next 15 years.

Canada’s aim is to use a raft of regulations to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas industry, boost the use of natural gas for electric power generation, and regulate greenhouse gas emitting chemicals such as nitrogen fertilizers.

Construction of traditional coal-fired power plants are already banned in Canada, which is phasing out existing coal-fired power plants that do not use carbon capture and storage technology.

Canada is already making some progress toward its new goal.  The country’s emissions were 3.1 percent lower than 2005 levels in 2013.

Leona Aglukkaq, Canada’s minister of the environment, said in a statement Friday that the new target emphasizes Canada’s commitment to cut emissions and work with other countries to establish an international climate agreement during the Paris climate negotiations.

Critics in Canada said the new emissions target isn’t sufficiently ambitious because it does not aim to cut greenhouse gas emissions from the Alberta tar sands, which are highly carbon-intensive to produce, releasing up to 17 percent more carbon dioxide emissions per barrel than oil extracted elsewhere, according to the U.S. State Department.

Read more at Canada Sets Goal to Cut Emissions by 2030

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