TOP News

Canada: Canada's climate change efforts going from 'failure to failure,' says commissioner's report

COP26 from the perspective of BIPOC youth delegates

  COP26 from the perspective of BIPOC youth delegates Youth delegates are there to hold governments accountable, and Tina Oh was at COP26 this year to also help BIPOC youth, who come from communities historically shut out from these international talks.She and other BIPOC youth attended. It's her fourth trip to the conference.

A vehicle is seen in the debris at the Highway 7 mudslide west of Agassiz, B.C., Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021. Widespread flooding in B.C. is being blamed in part on climate change. © Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press A vehicle is seen in the debris at the Highway 7 mudslide west of Agassiz, B.C., Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021. Widespread flooding in B.C. is being blamed in part on climate change.

Despite three decades of effort, Canada's carbon emissions have risen 20 per cent since 1990, the country remains unprepared for climate disasters and subsidies for the oil and gas sector have not delivered promised emission reductions, say new reports from the federal government's chief environmental watchdog.

That damning verdict applies not only to past Liberal and Conservative governments but to the current government led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Kelly McParland: Summits are fun, but dikes are safer

  Kelly McParland: Summits are fun, but dikes are safer The fun part of being an activist is hollering into megaphones, waving placards in street demonstrations, chanting slogans at protest gatherings and enjoying all the media attention such antics draw. Canada’s new environment minister is an excellent example of how activism attracts. Steven Guilbeault made his name with stunts like scaling Canada’s tallest tower, which got his picture in all the papers and was great for his career, even if it remains unclear just what good it did for the environment itself.

"Canada was once a leader in the fight against climate change. However, after a series of missed opportunities, it has become the worst performer of all G7 nations since the landmark Paris Agreement on climate change was adopted in 2015," said Environment and Sustainable Development Commissioner Jerry V. DeMarco in a media statement.

"We can't continue to go from failure to failure; we need action and results, not just more targets and plans."

DeMarco's five reports look at various federal efforts on the environment and conclude that, despite failures in a number of policy areas, Canada still has time to turn its record around.

"With strong, concerted action from parliamentarians and Canadians, Canada can move past its poor track record on climate change and meet its international climate obligations," one of the reports said.

Trudeau says B.C. flooding shows climate change impacts have arrived ‘sooner than expected’

  Trudeau says B.C. flooding shows climate change impacts have arrived ‘sooner than expected’ Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani-Sadriu in his West Block office. The president thanked Trudeau for Canada's support of Kosovo during "the dark times" in 1999 during the NATO bombing campaign against Serbia in support of Kosovars, and the brighter days that followed.

"Building on momentum around the globe and at home, including recent climate legislation, stronger plans, and increased funding, Canada can achieve a cleaner, net-zero-emission future for generations to come."

The report looking at Canada's record on reducing greenhouse gas emissions is not an audit, DeMarco's office said, but rather an examination of progress meant to help governments improve outcomes going forward.

The commissioner identifies eight lessons that could get Canada back on track with its target of cutting emissions 40 to 45 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.

Key lessons

The first requires improved policy leadership and coordination between federal and provincial governments.

The commissioner notes that Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador produce 97 per cent of Canada's oil and gas and said that any discussion about cutting emissions has to closely involve energy-producing provinces to reduce national tensions over the issue.

John Ivison: Liberals so focused on carbon taxes, they missed the flood coming in the back door

  John Ivison: Liberals so focused on carbon taxes, they missed the flood coming in the back door Justin Trudeau saw for himself the impact of the atmospheric river that broke rainfall records in British Columbia, leaving dikes breached, homes submerged, highways washed out and livestock drowned. Another pulse of storms is forecast for this weekend. “We’ll see what God has in store,” one resident told Global TV, stoically. But as distressing as the flooding has been, the lack of preparation for extreme weather in the province has been just as shocking. Ed Fast, the MP for Abbotsford, one of the worst affected cities, said all levels of government have been aware for years about the potential for flooding but didn’t act.

"Canada needs to depolarize the climate change discussion to move the debate from whether the country should significantly reduce its emissions and toward a discussion on how emissions should be reduced," the commissioner said.

The commissioner's office said that while Canada's oil and gas sector is responsible for eight per cent of GDP, it's also to blame for 25 per cent of emissions.

To turn that around, the commissioner said Canada needs to fund efforts to transition workers away from emissions-intensive industries and increase the country's reliance on lower-emission energy sources.

Preparing for climate disasters

The commissioner said that dealing with weather-related disasters, such as the catastrophic flooding in B.C.'s interior, costs the country up to six per cent of GDP annually. Better preparation for such events is critical one of the reports said.

"Compared with the high costs of cleaning up disasters after the fact, investing early in adaptation measures avoids losses and generates significant economic, social and environmental benefits," the report said.

Where to find college football's next 'home run' coaching hire

  Where to find college football's next 'home run' coaching hire Where should ADs look to fill open Power 5 jobs? Oftentimes, the answer is already on campus.Four Power 5 jobs are currently open, and a few more may follow. Six have already been filled, thanks to the bomb-shell hires by USC (Lincoln Riley) and LSU (Brian Kelly). Every AD and fan base is looking for the "home run" hire, the guy who fulfills the program's perceived potential. But where do you find these guys? With James Franklin, Dave Aranda, Jimbo Fisher and Mel Tucker seemingly taking themselves off the market, ADs will be looking harder than ever for them.

The report notes that recent polling shows just three quarters of Canadians agreed that global warming is caused by human activity and only 60 per cent of Canadians polled thought the federal government would be failing its citizens if it did not address climate change.

To address this, the commissioner is calling on the federal government to do a better job of countering misinformation on climate change.

The commissioner's office says that, in the past, Canada's stated climate targets have not been backed by strategies to follow through.

"While implementation of Canada's current climate plans may fulfil Canada's initial 2030 target of a 30 per cent reduction below 2005 levels, Canada now has a new, more ambitious goal of 40 per cent to 45 per cent. Therefore, the government will have to revisit the plans, policies, and actions needed to achieve the new targets," says one of the reports.

The commissioner calls on the federal government to broaden its team of partners to battle climate change and to take steps to protect future generations from its impacts. He said Ottawa could accomplish that by working closer with Indigenous communities, the financial sector, academics, non-governmental organizations and businesses.

Oil and gas subsidies

The commissioner said that while recent legislation, such as the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act and the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act, represent progress, more must be done.

Young Canadians launch court challenge to lower federal voting age from 18

  Young Canadians launch court challenge to lower federal voting age from 18 Thirteen young people from across the country, ranging in age from 12 to 18, are going to court to argue that the section of the Canada Elections Act which bars Canadians under 18 from voting in federal elections is unconstitutional.On Tuesday, 13 young people from across the country, ranging in age from 12 to 18, filed an application at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice arguing that the section of the Canada Elections Act which bars Canadians under 18 from voting in federal elections is unconstitutional.

"Parliament … must intensify efforts in the fight against climate change to make up for decades of missed opportunities and missteps," the report said.

DeMarco's fall reports also contained a number of audits. One of the audits looked into the Emissions Reduction Fund, which was launched last year as part of the COVID-19 Economic Response Plan.

The fund provides $675 million to help land-based oil and gas companies maintain jobs, attract investment, increase competitiveness and speed up deployment of equipment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, especially methane.

Poor reporting standards

The audit found that in designing the program, Natural Resources Canada did not ensure that drawing from the fund would actually lead to emissions reductions in the oil and gas sector. The audit also found that emission reduction expectations were "overestimated."

"It is important that programs aimed at oil and gas companies be efficient and effective at delivering emission reductions," said DeMarco. "Otherwise, such programs risk undermining Canada's efforts to fight climate change."

A separate audit in DeMarco's fall report looked at the work of 12 federal departments responsible for "healthy coasts and oceans, pristine lakes and rivers, and sustainable food."

The audit found that while these departments "contributed to meeting the goals" laid out in the federal government's Sustainable Development Strategy, they failed to adequately follow guidelines or properly report how actions they took contributed to meeting the goals laid out by the federal government.

"Gaps in reporting make it difficult for Parliamentarians and Canadians to understand progress being made against Canada's sustainable development commitments," said DeMarco.

The fall reports also noted that efforts to reduce excess deposits of nutrients in Lake Erie, Lake Winnipeg and the Wolastoq—Saint John River would be greatly improved if the federal government shared information and resources with other organizations involved in water management.

Excess nutrients, combined with a warming climate, can lead to "runaway growth of algae" that threatens water supplies, the report said.

Climate Change TV Fund Launches; ITV Studios Strikes ‘Love Island’ Deals; BFI Kickstarts Disability Campaign – Global Briefs .
Climate Change TV Fund Launches An organisation has been launched to help develop more TV shows and films about climate change. Climate Spring has attracted funding from the National Lottery Community Fund and Gower Street Trust and is being led by film producers James Durrant and Josh Cockroft, along with climate strategist Lucy Stone. Working closely with writers, commissioners, agents and producers as well as climate experts, Climate Spring will identify shows with commercial appeal and finance their initial development.

See also