Citizen Action Monitor

Trudeau breaks another promise, delays methane gas regulations — Did he cave to the oil industry?

Decision could hinder Canada’s goal to curb greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent by 2030.

No 1941 Posted by fw, April 24, 2017

“The Liberal government’s decision to delay its new methane gas regulations by three years is being attacked by environmental activists as a blow to Canada’s climate commitments and a possible capitulation to the oil industry…. Andrew Read, a senior analyst with the Pembina Institute, called the new methane timeline a ‘real blow’ that could hinder Canada’s goal to curb greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.… the delay makes him question the government’s overall commitment to fighting climate change.”Alex Ballingall, Toronto Star

As atmospheric carbon hits a record 410 PPM (parts per million), an “unprecedented increase” over 5 years, and a new scientific study warns that Greenhouse gas emissions must peak quickly if there is hope of limiting warming to safe levels – Team Trudeau takes a giant step backwards in fulfilling its emission reduction promises.

Office of Environment Canada Minister, Catherine McKenna, defended the delay this way: “this will give industry more time to prepare for the new regulations”, adding that “The changes in start date are an example of government listening to stakeholders”. And what “stakeholders” might that be?

Not to be outdone, Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr offered an excuse of his own, reportedly saying that “Canada needs to be cognizant of regulations in the U.S., suggesting the methane delay is at least partly due to U.S. President Donald Trump’s move away from Obama-era climate policies.”

The excuses suggest initial “planning incompetence”.

Below is a repost of the Star’s article; or read it on their website by clicking on the following linked title.

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Ottawa’s methane gas delay a ‘real blow’ to Canada’s climate targets by Alex Ballingall, Toronto Star, April 21, 2017

OTTAWA—The Liberal government’s decision to delay its new methane gas regulations by three years is being attacked by environmental activists as a blow to Canada’s climate commitments and a possible capitulation to the oil industry.

Dale Marshall, national program manager with Environmental Defence, told the Star that curbing methane gas is one of the easiest ways to reduce emissions that cause climate change. The fact that the government is putting off action on this low-hanging fruit in the climate fight demonstrates a “total” lack of leadership, Marshall said.

“This is really discouraging, because this is the easy stuff. It’s the only thing that’s targeting the oil and gas industry, and they’re backing off on it,” he said, arguing that the move suggests Ottawa was swayed by industry stakeholders to put off the regulations.

He accused Ottawa of showing “no backbone” on the issue.

As first reported by the CBC, Canada’s environment ministry is pushing back the full implementation of new methane gas regulations from 2020 to 2023. Marie-Pascale Des Rosiers, press secretary to Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, said in an email Friday that this will give industry more time to prepare for the new regulations, and for the provinces to adjust their rules in line with incoming federal policies.

Des Rosiers said that the delay in implementation of the new rules, which will be spelled out in an announcement later this month, won’t affect the government’s target of cutting methane emissions by 40 to 45 per cent by 2025.

“The changes in start date are an example of government listening to stakeholders, and responding in changes to the draft regulation,” she said.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged to significantly cut Canada’s methane gas emissions last year during a visit to the White House with then-U.S. president Barack Obama.

The original time frame for the roll out of new regulations was between 2018 and 2020, Des Rosiers said. [Now it’s 2020-2023].

In an interview with The Canadian Press on Friday, Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr said that Canada needs to be cognizant of regulations in the U.S., suggesting the methane delay is at least partly due to U.S. President Donald Trump’s move away from Obama-era climate policies.

Marshall said it makes no sense to pull back on regulations to stay in line with the U.S., because many states have more robust rules than anywhere in Canada. “We’re playing catchup,” he said. “We shouldn’t be stalling to match the no-action of the Trump administration.”

Andrew Read, a senior analyst with the Pembina Institute, called the new methane timeline a “real blow” that could hinder Canada’s goal to curb greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.

Read said that, even if the government still cuts methane emissions by 45 per cent, the delayed timeline translates to an estimated extra 55 megatonnes of the gas that will get released into the atmosphere. He added that methane is one of the most powerful greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming.

“We’re still aiming for the same target, but our chances of getting to that target if we’re delaying our action is at jeopardy,” he said, adding that the delay makes him question the government’s overall commitment to fighting climate change.

“This was the only strategy to deal with the oil and gas (emissions) footprint, so if we’re seeing a lack of ambition there, we’re going to have a real hard time meeting our reduction goals,” he said.

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This entry was posted on April 24, 2017 by in climate change, NGO counterpower, political action and tagged , .
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