Environment and Climate Change Canada is responding to charges that Canada’s Liberal government has been slow to advance from talk to action in shifting the country’s economy away from greenhouse gas-generating fossil fuels, asserting that the year ahead will witness more concrete measures of success.
In what is billed as a first annual report on the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change, signed a year ago by all provinces and territories except Saskatchewan and Manitoba, the department asserts that its “first year milestones [are] on track,” the National Observer reports.
Citing the statement, released over the weekend, the paper says those milestone accomplishments include “drafting new regulations to cut climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions, an increase in federal funding for provincial and Indigenous climate action initiatives, and the establishment of new programs that will help protect vulnerable communities from the impacts of a warming and less predictable climate.”
As recently as October, Environment and Sustainable Development Commissioner Julie Gelfand “slammed the government,” the Observer recalled, “for failing on climate adaptation and readiness, and abandoning a 2020 greenhouse gas emissions target set by the previous Harper government.”
“The government does not have a solid strategy for eliminating inefficient fossil fuel subsidies, and it is nowhere near being ready to adapt to the impacts of climate change,” Gelfand said at the time, after examining the work of 19 federal departments.
In its latest statement, the government “acknowledged the lack of tangible results in emissions reduction,” the Observer reports. But it insisted it was “poised to introduce legislation early in 2018 that will force a carbon pricing mechanism on all provincial and territorial governments that have not yet implemented their own.”
Still, “while good progress has been made to date, much work remains,” the department conceded. “There is a time lag between the implementation of new policies and initiatives and the subsequent changes in behaviour.”
“In future years, as funding begins to flow and policies and regulations come into force,” it added, “the focus of subsequent reports will shift toward concrete results and outcomes.”