Canada's new climate target: the good, the bad and the ugly

Barry Saxifrage, National Observer, 29/05/15

As the world prepares for the make-or-break climate conference in Paris this fall, each nation is expected to announce new climate targets. Last week, Canada became the 37th nation to do so.

The chart compares the climate pollution and targets of Canada, US and EU-28. Here is the story it tells.

Canada's new 2030 target is shown as a bold red bulls-eye on the far right. Our new pledge of 30 per cent below 2005 is equivalent to 13 per cent below our 1990 emissions.

The good news can be seen in the wide rose-coloured line that marks Canada's climate targets. It shows that our new 2030 target continues the same level of ambition as our previous 2020 target. In fact, our new pledge is slightly stronger:

  • Our 2020 Copenhagen target required cuts of 8.3 MtCO2 per year
  • Our 2030 Paris target increases cuts a bit to 9.6 MtCO2 per year

The bad news can be seen in how steeply Canada, USA and EU-28 are now promising to cut emissions. Both the Americans and the Europeans have promised much faster cuts after 2020. Canadians didn't.

Why does this matter? The world's best climate science[i] says: