Canada must step up efforts to cut CO2 emissions: watchdog

2 min

Ottawa (AFP)

Canada will need to greatly step up its efforts to achieve its stated goal of reducing carbon emissions by 30 percent below 2005 levels, an independent parliamentary official said Thursday.

The Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) noted in a report that the federal government has adopted measures to cut emissions in electricity generation and transportation.

Several provincial governments have also announced a patchwork of programs.

However, the PBO said: "Those measures, while substantial, are unlikely to achieve the target on their own.

"Deeper reductions will be needed," it concluded.

The PBO -- which is independent of the government and reports directly to MPs -- calculated that Canada's carbon emissions linked to global warming have stabilized at just over 700 million tonnes per year.

But the reduction is 208 million tonnes short of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's commitment at the climate summit in Paris in December.

On Friday, 160 nations will sign the agreement reached in Paris aimed at keeping a rise in global temperatures below 1.5 degrees Celsius. Trudeau will be present at the UN ceremony.

So far, Canada has cut emissions from coal use and brought in stricter fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks.

In its March budget, the federal government earmarked Can$2 billion (US$1.6 billion) for a climate strategy.

But Trudeau failed in the same month to reach an agreement with provincial leaders on a national carbon pricing scheme.

Canada's 10 provincial premiers also rejected calls for deeper greenhouse gas cuts, and insisted they would tailor plans for their respective regions.

In the west, for example, two provinces have or plan to introduce carbon taxes, while in the east two provinces have joined a fledgling continental cap and trade system with the US state of California.

The PBO suggested that the bulk of the emissions reductions would have to come from three sectors: electricity, oil and gas, and transport.

It also noted that cuts can be achieved with technology currently available.