Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Will Canada Meet Emission Reduction Targets?

Although many insist that Canada’s Conservative government is not doing nearly enough to reduce its emissions and reach its 2020 targets, a growing number of independent researchers are beginning to believe that Canada is actually on the right track. These researchers state that all that is needed for Canada to meet its 2020 emission reduction targets is a slight extra push in the right direction. 

The International Institute for Sustainable Development is one research body that has recently thrown its weight behind Canadian emission reduction efforts. In a report released on November 7, 2011, the International Institute for Sustainable Development has cataloged its investigation into Canada’s policy of introducing emission regulations into the mainstream slowly but surely.

The Canadian government is determined to link its policy on climate change with the policy of its superpower southern neighbor, the United States. For this reason, options like instituting a country-wide cap-and-trade system or a federal carbon tax have been thrown out and are no longer being considered.

Over the past few decades, the Canadian government has invested billions into climate change efforts. Building retrofits and carbon reduction demonstration projects have been near the top of Canada’s emission reduction project list. Unfortunately, these projects have been shown to only reap limited results. Still, the report from the IISD has shown that, surprisingly, Canada is nearly at the halfway mark between its 2005 emission levels and the 17 percent decrease in emissions that is their 2020 goal. Besides the mainstream projects set in motion by the federal government, this is also due in part to efforts made by the provincial government bodies.

Although there is still much that must be done if Canada wants to reach its 2020 stretch-target, the IISD report has shown unequivocally that Canada has definitely gotten off to a good start. Here are a few things Canada would be wise to do if it wants to ensure its target is reached.

Emission targets will have to be introduced for industries that Canada might not have been planning to address. The transportation sector, for instance, is one industry that has so far not felt the sting of the emission reduction whip but that could probably use a good flogging.

The IISD report also suggests that the Canadian government establish what they are calling a domestic offset program. This program would require companies in targeted industries to buy offsets if they fall behind in meeting their emission reduction targets.

While establishing a carbon pricing policy system doesn’t seem to be politically feasible at this time, Canada may have to look into it at a future date. Setting a price on carbon will cost the Canadian electric plants that are powered by coal about the same as the European system costs to similar power plants across Europe. If Canada genuinely wants to meet its 2020 emission reduction target, a nation-wide carbon pricing system may eventually turn out to be the most economic way to cut emissions even if it means deviating from current United States’ policies.

The Canadian consumer's move towards more energy efficient vehicles certainly helps to offset many emissions.  Canadians are also recognizing that many of the more efficient vwhicles are smaller, and therefore cheap to insure.  If you are considering buying a more efficient car; do your homework first and compare some Kanetix auto insurance quotes.  The difference in car insurance rates across vehicles is staggering, and many consumers don't look at this before choosing their vehicle.