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Climate Action Network Canada Secret Cap-and-Trade Proposal Confirms That Canada Has No Intention of Meeting its 2020 Greenhouse Gas Target

Leaked Cabinet Documents Show Government Plan for Massive Increase in Oil and Gas Emissions by 2020.
Copenhagen, December 15, 2009 - Cabinet documents unveiled tonight show that Environment Minister Jim Prentice’s planned cap-and-trade system is so weak that the federal government clearly has no intention of meeting its 2020 emissions target, according to Climate Action Network–Réseau action climat Canada. The documents were described in a CBC news story and have been analyzed by members of the Climate Action Network.

The documents reveal that the Government of Canada is contemplating an approach to regulating emissions from the oil and gas, manufacturing and mining sectors that is more than three times weaker than their 2008 “Turning the Corner” plan.

“The government is lying to Canadians, Parliament and the world,” said Steven Guilbeault of Équiterre. “These leaked documents show that Canada’s government has chosen expanding the tar sands over protecting our climate. Canada is negotiating in bad faith in Copenhagen by calling on poor countries to do more while it is secretly planning to do less.”

Under “Turning the Corner,” oil and gas producers would have been required to reduce their annual emissions by 48 million tonnes (Mt) in 2020, relative to business as usual; the new approach requires just 15 Mt of reductions below business-as-usual in 2020.

This would leave the oil and gas sector’s emissions 37 per cent above the 2006 level in 2020.

“This secret plan is a scandal. These documents reveal that the emissions target that Canada is presenting in Copenhagen — weak as it is — is a sham,” said Graham Saul, Climate Action Network–Réseau action climat Canada. “Minister Prentice needs to stop lying to negotiators from other countries and admit that he has no intention of fulfilling his commitment.”

“These documents reveal a detailed plan to allow massive emissions growth from Canada’s oil producers,” said Matthew Bramley of the Pembina Institute. “Because of their high emissions and rapid growth, the litmus test of any Canadian cap-and-trade proposal is the way it treats the oil sands. The plan outlined in these documents fails that test spectacularly.”

The leaked documents reveal plans for a number of measures that further undermine Canada’s cap-and-trade proposal. For example, firms would be allowed to meet their targets by making payments into a technology fund instead of actually reducing emissions. The government also plans to give emission allowances to firms free of charge instead of selling them in an auction.

Measures like these mean that the Canadian proposal is far weaker than the U.S. approach passed by the House of Representatives in June — in contrast to Minister Prentice’s claims of “harmonizing” Canada’s policies with the U.S..

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For more information, contact:
Hannah McKinnon
Copenhague : +45 25 53 60 81

Marie-Eve Roy
Copenhague +45 41 63 37 95