Canada says cannot meet 2020 emissions target without more action

Mon Dec 8, 2014 4:58pm EST
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OTTAWA Dec 8 (Reuters) - Canada, accused by environmentalists of lack of action in the fight against climate change, said on Monday it has no chance of meeting its 2020 target for cutting greenhouse gas emissions unless it takes further steps.

Under the 2009 Copenhagen Accord, Canada promised to cut emissions by 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. That means the country's total output of greenhouse gases in 2020 should be around 611 megatons.

A report issued by the federal environment ministry on Monday said actual emissions in 2020 are projected to be 727 megatons.

"This highlights the significant expected impacts of actions made to date but also indicates the need for further efforts from all Canadians, as additional reductions of 116 megatons will be required to meet Canada's Copenhagen commitment," the report said.

Parliament's environmental watchdog said in October that Canada was set to miss its 2020 target badly, in part because of its failure to limit production by the oil and gas industry. This includes the carbon-intensive oil sands of northern Alberta, where oil companies have ramped up output in recent years.

The environment ministry report said the oil and gas sector, which the government has been promising to regulate for eight years, now accounts for more emissions than any other source and is expected to contribute 204 megatonnes of emissions by 2020, or 28 percent of the overall amount.

The report was issued as Canadian Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq flew to Lima for international talks on a deal to combat global warming.

Activists cite Canada's failure to tackle soaring energy sector emissions as one of the reasons they want U.S. President Barack Obama to block TransCanada Corp's proposed Keystone XL pipeline from the Alberta tar sands to U.S. refineries on the Gulf Coast.

The full report can be found here%202014.pdf

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Peter Galloway)