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Provinces lead on environment and energy: where is the federal government?

By Bruce Carson      

Not since he won office in 2006 has leadership now been important for the Prime Minister on Canada’s energy resources and the environment.

OTTAWA—November was quite a month for those who care about the health of the world’s environment. On Nov. 2, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the report, which will go to the 2015 Conference of the Parties (COP) meeting in Paris, calling for immediate global action to reduce GHG emissions. The report set out in some detail the effect that these emissions will have on small island states, sub-Saharan Africa, Arctic sea ice and the melting of glaciers. Then, between the end of the APEC meeting in Beijing and before the beginning of the G20 gathering in Brisbane, Australia, the United States and China announced they arrived at a bilateral agreement by which the U.S. agreed to accelerate its GHG emission reduction goals and China agreed that it would stop growth of its carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 at the latest. The U.S. set as its new target GHG reductions of 26 to 28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2025. This agreement made by the two countries whose emissions make up 45 per cent GHGs triggered a climate change discussion at the G20 meeting even though the matter was to be kept off of the agenda. The U.S. and European countries led the movement to add climate change to the agenda and in the subsequent discussions G20 countries decided to work towards an agreement on GHG reductions to be finalized at the COP meeting next year. Also a fund to help small island states and other nations adversely affected by climate change was established. Its total now stands at $9.3-billion with Canada contributing $300-million.

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