More robust Canadian INDC offer on the table ahead of Paris, pledges official opposition

Intro

If elected, Canada’s official opposition party is pledging more ambitious national targets ahead of the Paris climate talks this December. Moments before kicking off Labour Day weekend, the National Democratic Party’s deputy leader and environment critic Megan Leslie revealed that they are prepared to amend Canada’s existing offer for the country’s INDCs (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions) for the upcoming UN climate negotiation process. Canada’s current climate commitments — submitted by the Conservative government two months past the deadline set by the UN — were chastised for being far weaker than European or US targets, all the while failing to address the Alberta tar sands—the nation’s largest source of carbon emissions. While the NDP has yet to reveal clear details on its proposed climate targets ahead of the Paris negotiations, Leslie notes that they will be in line with a prior party-supported proposal of reducing GHGs 34 per cent below 1990 levels by 2025, and 80 per cent by 2050.

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Key Points

  • Climate change and the environment are top issues for Canadians, and the official opposition is taking note. More than 25,000 people from across Canada assembled in Quebec this spring demanding climate protection from their leaders, while 10,000 more echoed similar demands for jobs, justice and the climate to be at the forefront of the political agenda. Businesses, environmental groups and First Nations all see value in building a low carbon economy.

  • Canada’s current climate commitments are weaker than they look, especially compared to those from governments around the world. As it stands, Canada has agreed cut carbon pollution by 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 as part of this year’s international climate negotiations in Paris. Meanwhile, other nations are far outpacing Canada. The US committed to cut carbon pollution 26 per cent to 28 per cent from 2005 levels by 2025—five years ahead of Canada’s deadline. Across the pond, the European Union’s  commitment to reduce carbon pollution by 40 per cent below 1990 levels by 2030 makes Canada’s commitments look worse than a third string goalie.

  • Slashing carbon is crucial to protect the people, plants and wildlife that depend on a stable climate. Analysis shows that “limiting global warming to below 2degC requires a large reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions in the short to medium term.” Rising emissions are a driving force behind global natural disasters, and in Canada, many First Nations communities live along pipeline routes that risk poisoning their land and waterways. Marginalized communities are often the hardest hit by climate change, and it’s up to Canada as a whole to protect the country’s most vulnerable populations.