Canada has announced new goals to greenhouse gas emissions to thirty percent below 2005 levels by 2030. The announcement has received criticism for not addressing the oil sands in Alberta. The pledge comes just prior to a meeting between the Canadian provinces in June and a major climate change conference in Paris in December. The pledge was formally submitted to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change on Friday.
While the new target is almost double Canada’s previous pledge, critics are quick to point out that the plan avoids previously promised regulations on the oil sands. Canada currently produces an estimated 170 billion barrels of oil daily from the world’s third largest energy reserves. Daily oil production is expected to more than double by 2025. Saudi Arabia and Venezuela have the two largest reserves. Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been reluctant in the past to slow the growth of the nation’s energy industry which is looking to become an energy super power.
The plan calls for new rules for natural gas-fired power plants and the chemical industry and also reductions in methane emissions in the oil and gas sector. The reductions are sought mainly in flaring and industrial leaks. Though the plan does not impose any regulations on the oil sands it does call for technological innovation to improve environmental performance in the oilsands which accounted for more than ten percent of the methane emissions from the oil and gas sector in 2012. The plan is set to rely heavily on provinces to achieve emissions reductions by regulations or otherwise.
The United States, Japan, and the European Union have already committed to similar reductions for the next ten to fifteen years.