Trudeau pressured to adopt tougher emissions target for Biden climate summit

·1 min read

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is under pressure to step up his commitment to cutting greenhouse gas emissions in Canada within the next decade as he heads into a United States-hosted climate summit with global leaders.

The virtual two-day event starting tomorrow, which is Earth Day, is where the government says Trudeau plans to unveil new reduction targets for 2030.

The Liberal government has promised to release new targets ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference this fall, when Canada plans to discuss progress on the issue.

Under the Paris Agreement, countries signed on to keep global warming below 2 C degrees, ideally 1.5 C degrees, compared to pre-industrial levels.

Participating countries agreed to set national targets to lower emissions of these heat-trapping gases every five years, increasing the aggressiveness of targets over time.

In Monday's budget — which promises a "green" recovery out of the COVID-19 crisis — Trudeau's Liberals say existing federal and provincial measures will see emissions lowered by 36 per cent by 2030 below 2005 levels.

Environmentalists and climate organizations say to show its serious, Canada needs to set a reductions target of at least 40 to 50 per cent below 2005 levels.

"There is no way they can go to Washington with 36 per cent and not get laughed out of the room," said Keith Stewart, a senior energy strategist with Greenpeace Canada.

Some say it needs to be higher, like 60 per cent.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 21, 2021.

The Canadian Press