Canada may miss modest new climate targets: watchdog

Tue Oct 4, 2011 1:28pm EDT
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* Says Canada wasting billions on climate change plan

* Says Canada might not meet 2020 emissions cuts goal

By David Ljunggren

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada is spending billions of dollars on poorly planned climate change programs and could miss its modest 2020 target for greenhouse gas emission cuts, Parliament's environmental watchdog said on Tuesday.

Scott Vaughan's critical report is the latest attack on the record of the Conservative government, which critics say cares little for the environment and is far too close to the influential energy industry.

Vaughan said a probe of the government's 2010 climate change plan revealed almost C$9.3 billion ($8.8 billion) had been earmarked for 35 different programs.

"There are some basic management weaknesses that we saw in terms of the plan ... right now it's looking to us to be disjointed, confused, non transparent (with) a lack of good coordination between many of the programs," he said.

After taking power in 2006 the Conservatives walked away from the Kyoto climate change accord - which committed Canada to cut emissions to an average of 6 percent below its 1990 level by 2012 - on the grounds it would harm the economy.

The government now promises to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020.   Continued...