It’s become a recurrent theme when covering Canadian Climate change politics. A population, apparently ready to tackle Climate Change, a majority of parliamentarians agreeing and an impressive array of policies at state level to help tackle Climate Change. Then we get to the Canadian Federal Government. Under Harper, Canada has at a federal level been anything but enthusiastic about tackling Climate Change, has sought to ignore or even join with Sceptics of the value of taking action. It’s why the latest report from Canada’s Environmental Commission is no surprise.
Headed by Scott Vaughan part of the Office of the Auditor General, CBC summarised his findings:
“In looking at Environment Canada’s 2007 and 2008 climate change plans, which included greenhouse gas reduction measures such as incentives to boost the use of renewable fuels, Vaughan found:
- Environment Canada overstated reductions it expects in greenhouse gas emissions between 2008-2012, as those include reductions that are unlikely to occur before 2012. Vaughan blamed the problem on accounting methods, delays in implementing programs and the complicated nature of the calculations.
- The government is unable to monitor actual reductions resulting from some of the measures in its plans, and acknowledges that it lacks such a monitoring system.
- The plans are not fully transparent.
- The plans are missing other information required by the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act, including how total national greenhouse gas emission levels compare with Canada’s Kyoto target or whether measures under the plan were put in place on time.
Harper’s Government will not be troubled by this, he openly dismissed Canada’s attachment to the Kyoto treaty when the Conservatives came to power in 2006. In 2007, parliamentarians fought back and combined to demand enforcement of the Kyoto protocol but as this latest report indicates the Government has shown how much importance it attaches to the Kyoto protocol.
How is Harper able to do this? It may have something to do with a recent poll, showing that while Liberals were polling better than Conservatives, Harper is personally the more favoured leader. Right now, with the world economy still in jeopardy that may be enough for Harper and his Conservatives to stay in power, whether Harper will be able to continue to put a brake on Climate Change policy remains to be seen, especially as the Democrats may have achieved a breakthrough in the US, something Harper has indicated he’d be open to.
Harper declared back in January that his government’s aim in the long term was towards a North American Cap and Trade, recently it appears Congressman Waxman may have succeeded in at least getting the deal out of Committee, that being the Case a Climate Change bill could be passed this year, which along with International Treaties would surely present insurmountable pressure on Harper’s Government or risk international isolation.
Watching Canadian Climate Change politics is misleading, Federal intransigence masks a hive of activity across the states, it’s a matter of when and not if the Federal Government has to stop dragging its feet, be it under Harper or someone else.