The greenhouse gas emissions dilemma

The greenhouse gas emissions dilemma

What should Canada do with the control of greenhouse gas emissions? If they reduce them, it would not make a difference.

Canada is worried about greenhouse gas emissions.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax is not going to come close to lowering the greenhouse gas emissions to the levels he agreed to when he signed the United Nations’ Paris climate accord in 2015.

Environment Minister, Catherine McKenna, dodged the question of whether Canada would meet its 2030 target, having previously expressed with confidence that it would.

The Paris accord’s target for 2030 would mean cutting our annual industrial greenhouse gas emissions by 192 megatonnes annually in 12 years, wiping out the equivalent of our entire oil and gas sector.

Canada’s new target would mean lowering their emissions by 322 megatonnes annually, the equivalent of shutting down the entire oil and gas sector and three-quarters of the transportation sector in 12 years. That’s impossible.

Trudeau recently let the cat out of the bag when he said at a Montreal talk show:

“Even if Canada stopped everything tomorrow, and the other countries didn’t have any solutions, it wouldn’t make a big difference.”

Canada won’t make a big difference because the entire country accounts for only 1.6% of global emissions. And the rest of the world isn’t cutting any of theirs.

While Canada reduced its emissions by 1.4% in 2016 — the last year for which figures are available — global emissions went up by 1.4% in 2017. So Trudeau’s asking Canadians to lower their emissions as an example to the world, not that it will do any practical good.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, who hasn’t yet released his climate change plan, says it won’t include a carbon tax.

The real choice will be a Liberal plan with a carbon tax, or a Conservative plan without a carbon tax, neither of which will significantly reduce emissions.

Given that choice, many Canadians will opt for the latter.


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John Bärr
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