Thursday, 15 April 2010

Climate accountability in Canada?

Government benches in the H of C before the recent scandals
Yesterday the Liberals and Bloc supported the NDP-sponsored Bill C-311, the Climate Change Accountability Act. Conservatives voted against. Final tally was 141-128. The bill calls on the government to cut greenhouse emissions 25% below 1990 levels (the Kyoto base year) by 2020, and 80% below 1990 levels by 2050, in line with targets set by most science-based groups. See my comparative table of Copenhagen proposals. The US and Canadian governments have been playing 'spin' games by changing the base year, so that their miserable performances appear better than they are.

More Tory game-playing: Canwest news 5 May 2010 reports that the bill "requires the government to deliver a plan to meet its Kyoto target and report back on its progress" but "Environment Canada has been filing the required reports, without meeting the targets."

See details of the Bill in Wikipedia and the Kyoto Plus youth action site Climate Day. Youth have been very active in this campaign. This 2nd reading victory sends the legislation to committee hearings in the House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment, which may have some educational effect on the public. If the bill became law, it would require the Environment Minister to submit a plan to meet the targets within the 3 months following, to the House-appointed Sustainability Commissioner.

Real action? Don't hold your breath. It will not be the first time the Tory minority government has simply ignored a majority vote. And don't expect anything but lip service from the Grits. This Bill failed to pass before the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, because during a crucial October 2009 vote, Michael Ignatieff and the majority of Liberals, who once supported Bill C-311, voted with the Conservatives to delay passage.
See my Environmental Networks overview of science-based and other eco-groups. For a summary of international action since COP-15, see follow-up to Copenhagen Accord.

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