Pembina reacts to U.S.-China climate announcement

Nov. 12, 2014

CALGARY — Chris Severson-Baker, managing director of the Pembina Institute, made the following statement in response to the U.S.-China joint announcement on climate change:

“Canada has long justified its own failures to limit the growth of greenhouse gas emissions by pointing to the inaction of heavy emitters like the U.S. and China, but that excuse does not stand up to scrutiny.

“The U.S. is likely to meet its 2020 emissions reduction target, and is now committing to reduce emissions even further by 2025. Canada, meanwhile, is on track to miss the same 2020 target by 20 per cent. In other words, the Prime Minister promised Canada's greenhouse gas emissions will go down, but the federal government is projecting they will go up.

“Some provinces, including B.C. and Ontario, have made significant progress on cutting their emissions through measures like the carbon tax and phasing out coal-fired electricity. But growth in emissions from the oilsands sector is projected to wipe out those gains.

“With this announcement, China is showing real leadership on climate change. Given the energy demands of China’s growing population and economy, identifying a target year for its emissions to peak, along with a plan to invest heavily in clean energy generation, is a significant and ambitious step.

“Canada has run out of excuses for failing to reduce emissions. Introducing stringent emissions regulations for our oil and gas sector and ramping up investments in energy efficiency and clean energy technology must be top priorities — both to do our fair share to address climate change, and to help Canadian industry compete in a world that is increasingly pursuing lower-carbon energy.”

Key facts

  • Canada is among the top emitters, per capita, in the industrialized world
  • Canada and the U.S. have both committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 17% below 2005 levels by 2020.
  • The U.S. is likely to meet its 2020 climate target, while Canada is expected to miss its emissions target by 20% (122 megatonnes of CO2e).
  • Canada’s oil and gas sector regulations are now eight years overdue. In the meantime, emissions from the oilsands are set to rise from 34 megatonnes to 101 megatonnes between 2005 and 2020.
  • Canada has regulated emissions related to 10% of the energy in its electricity system, whereas the U.S. has targeted all electricity emissions.
  • Canada’s coal regulations are mitigating 0.4% of our emissions by 2020. The U.S. clean power plan would mitigate 4.9-6.6% of U.S. emissions.


Chris Severson-Baker

Julia Kilpatrick
Communications Director


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