Canada’s efforts to reduce emissions fail: Environmental watchdog

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WINNIPEG, Manitoba: Canada’s official environmental watchdog on Thursday (November 25) praised Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s liberal government for incoherent and ill-designed efforts to curb climate change.

Canada has never achieved the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Trudeau’s government, in power since 2015, says it will reduce emissions by at least 40 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels and make Canada carbon neutral by 2050.

“For the past 30 years, Canada has gone from being a climate leader to falling behind other developed countries despite recent efforts,” said Environment and Sustainable Development Commissioner Jerry DeMarco.

Severe floods in British Columbia this month, which some experts have linked to climate change, killed at least four people and washed away railways and roads.

The government’s purchase of the Trans Mountain 2018 oil pipeline, in an attempt to complete an expansion that met with strong opposition, “is an example of political inconsistency with progress towards climate commitments,” DeMarco wrote in a report.

The proposed expansion of the pipeline, which almost triples its capacity, is still under construction. Trudeau says Canada will still need fossil fuels for decades to come, adding that the purchase would help the energy-producing province of Alberta.

DeMarco also criticized a program from the Natural Resources Department’s Emissions Reduction Fund, which aimed to financially support oil and gas companies that struggled with low prices last year, while speeding up efforts to reduce emissions.

The program was not designed to ensure sustainable emission reductions, or value for money, he wrote.

In a joint statement, Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault and Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson defended the government’s efforts.

“We are convinced that we have laid the foundations … to take Canada’s climate fight to the next level,” they said.

Trudeau’s government introduced a price on coal and says it plans to limit emissions from the oil and gas sector.

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