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Alberta emissions confusion and the forgotten target

Alberta’s newly appointed climate change minister, Diana McQueen, caused a stir last week by saying the province fully intended to meet its 2020 climate target. In most circumstances, a government promising to meet their own commitments wouldn’t raise many eyebrows. But this came as quite the surprise to many. After all, Alberta officials have long acknowledged that things were off course, and efforts to strengthen key policies and right the ship have been delayed repeatedly. It’s worth a deeper look at why the sudden optimism caught people off guard, and what it holds for Alberta’s larger climate challenge.  Continue reading Alberta emissions confusion and the forgotten target

What Rick Perry can teach us about Canada’s climate commitments

SFU Professor Mark Jaccard published a great op-ed in the Globe and Mail this week on Canada’s increasingly challenging climate change target. At its heart is an amusing parallel: the Harper government’s extended failure to implement a plan to meet their own emissions goal has left them in the same position they lamented previous Liberal governments for putting them in with regards to Kyoto — committed to something on paper that would now be very expensive to achieve in reality.  Continue reading What Rick Perry can teach us about Canada’s climate commitments

The good, the bad, and the equivalent

Last week, the governments of Nova Scotia and Canada finalized what’s known as an Equivalency Agreement, standing down the federal coal power regulations in favour of Nova Scotia’s hard cap on emissions in the power sector.

What might seem like a routine agreement between governments is actually a significant milestone in Canadian climate policy; this is the first such agreement that applies to greenhouse gases. And with Ottawa continuing to follow a “sector-by-sector” regulatory approach to carbon pollution — on paper at least — the Nova Scotia deal is expected to be the first of many. Continue reading The good, the bad, and the equivalent

Fourth Time’s a Charm? Why Harper Should Back The Climate Change Accountability Act

This week, while Canada’s energy and environment community anxiously awaited news of the federal cabinet’s decision on the Northern Gateway pipeline, something else happened in Ottawa. On Monday, Matthew Kellway, the NDP MP for Beaches-East York introduced a private member’s bill called the Climate Change Accountability Act.

If that name sounds familiar, there’s a good reason. This is the fourth time the bill has been introduced. Continue reading Fourth Time’s a Charm? Why Harper Should Back The Climate Change Accountability Act

Parsing Ottawa’s coal claims

Earlier this month, the Obama Administration announced its plan to tackle carbon pollution from existing power plants. These proposed regulations are a central piece of the President’s Climate Action Plan, and rightly so – the electricity sector accounts for roughly a third of all U.S. greenhouse gases (GHGs).

Most analysts and environmental groups welcomed the plan as a significant step forward for U.S. climate policy. Constrained as climate politics currently are in the U.S., the president decided to push forward with a fairly ambitious approach to the country’s biggest source of carbon pollution.

But in Ottawa, the federal government’s reaction was a little different. Continue reading Parsing Ottawa’s coal claims

Thoughts on climate policy in Canada and around the world