The ways Canada’s provinces are addressing climate change are “piecemeal, scattered, and in some cases, “non-existent,” a new report from the David Suzuki foundation said Monday.
The study analyzed various provincial government policies on climate change and found that most did not have a specific plan to cut emissions of greenhouse gases.
The Suzuki Foundation undertook the study in part because although the Kyoto Protocol to reduce emissions was signed at the federal level, it is up to the provinces to implement the policies.
“The Canadian government has been rightly criticized for its inaction on climate change,” said Dale Marshall, a climate-change policy analyst with the Suzuki foundation who authored the report. “But provinces and territories have escaped the same criticism despite considerable inaction on their part.
“Canada’s stalling on reducing greenhouse-gas emissions has as much to do with provincial opposition and intransigence as the federal government’s lack of commitment or effectiveness.”
His report, All Over the Map, looked at where provinces are at in terms of their current emissions levels and then looked at their plans for reducing greenhouse gasses and evaluated their records.
Mr. Marshall found that New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and the Yukon have no climate change plans at all.
He called the plans put out by British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador “weak and vague.”
Mr. Marshall also slammed Alberta and Saskatchewan for their oil and gas, and other, industry emissions, which are “skyrocketing” with no plans to place limits on them.
Although Ontario has low emissions per capita and has promised to remove coal-fired power plants, the report found, it has plan to address climate change and has weakened promises to cut electricity demand.
On the other hand, he lauded Manitoba, Quebec and Prince Edward Island for coming up with concrete ideas and for already taking action to reduce emissions.
He said that when the Kyoto protocol became law earlier this year, everyone assumed that reducing emissions fell on the shoulders of the federal government. In the report, however, he emphasizes that while that is partly true, some energy responsibilities fall under provincial jurisdiction.
For example, he said, it is the provinces that must ensure that buildings are up to code and increase energy efficiency. The provinces are also responsible for important changes related to climate change, such as management of natural gas and electricity.
They must therefore, he said, be on board to help citizens and businesses reduce usage.
For the most part, he said, provinces have failed to pay proper attention to the necessary reductions.
To meet its Kyoto target by 2012, Canada must cut emissions by 270 tonnes a year – 6 per cent below 1990 levels.
Canada agreed to decrease its emissions at a meeting in Kyoto in 1997. That agreement became international law in early 2005.
Kyoto signatories from all over the world meet in Montreal in December to discuss the next step in the process. Globe and Mail