QUEBEC CITY (Reuters) - The leaders of nine Canadian provinces and territories on Tuesday called on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to take stronger measures to reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard stressed the urgency of enacting taxes on carbon, creating cap-and-trade systems or using technology to capture or reduce carbon emissions.
Nine of Canada’s 13 premiers attended a provincial climate change summit in Quebec City that was in preparation for an international conference in Paris in December.
Harper has said he will present Canada’s 2050 emission goal before a Group of Seven Summit in June.
Some Canadian provinces have taken the lead in trying to tax or restrict carbon emissions in the absence of a national effort by the country’s right-leaning Conservative government. They include British Columbia, which already has a carbon tax.
On Monday Ontario announced it would join Quebec and California in a cap-and-trade system, setting limits on greenhouse gas emissions, with the requirement the polluter buy carbon credits.
Couillard told a media briefing there are different ways of meeting the same objectives and a variety of approaches should be used across the country.
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall, a political ally of the Harper government, said that Canada only accounts for 2 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, and said the real problem is coal, which accounts for 30 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.
But Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne took exception to Wall’s comments, noting that per capita, Canadians are high emitters.
Wynne said and her province chose cap-and-trade because it will promote innovation, giving polluters the option of investing in green technology to reduce their emissions.
Addtional reporting by Allison Lampert; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson and Lisa Shumaker