Clean Air Act is full of hot air

So Much for our Kyoto agreements.

The New Canadian Clean Air Act, is an attempt by the Conservatives to appear to be addressing many environmental issues such as global warming, when in reality the conservatives are continuing with the Liberals tradition of doing nothing to actually reduce the amount of greenhouse gases produced by Canada.

The main problem with the bill is the short term emissions intensity targets, which I have argued against many times before:

What is emissions intensity? It is the amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced by 1 dollar of economic activity. So if you increase your GDP by 50% and you greenhouse gases by 25% your emissions intensity has decreased while your total emissions are have increased. The global climate depends on the absolute amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, it does not matter how much economic growth was achieved by those emissions; the consequences would be the same.

Emissions intensity will ensure that greenhouse gas emissions can continue to rise until the long term targets kick in, in 2050.

And I am not the only one disappointed by this act:

An initial analysis by the Foundation finds the Act lacks meaningful targets, sets most timelines in the distant future, and focuses on emissions intensity — all of which guarantee continued rising pollution levels in Canada.

Now for the good news:

It seems very unlikely that this bill will ever be passed:

The Clean Air Act that the Conservatives hoped would revive their flagging electoral fortunes appears to be dead on arrival.

Opposition parties and environmental groups slammed the proposed legislation Thursday, dismissing it as a “dirty air act” and a “hot air plan.” All three opposition parties in the House of Commons said they will vote against the bill, meaning it has no chance of passing into law in the current minority Parliament

Hopefully the Conservatives will take another crack at making a useful environmental bill that ensures action in the short term and the long term.

Assuming the bill does pass there is one bright note, the Clean Air Act sets absolute targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half, but not until 2050. So assuming that no other government from now until 2050 changes the act (don’t hold your breath) in 2050 we will actually some good emissions targets.

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