Canada burns and the election heats up. Trudeau's still trying to figure out if he's a climate warrior.

Canada is in the midst of a pandemic election that will see voters vote on September 20th. after a summer full of climate extremes.

Hundreds of sudden deaths were shot in British Columbia after a record-breaking heat wave overwhelmed emergency services and made poorly ventilated homes uninhabitable. Severe droughts and hundreds of forest fires also took their toll. Lytton, B. C. reached 49.5 Celsius / 121.1 Fahrenheit on June 29 – the hottest temperature ever recorded in Canada.

The next day the village was gone, burned to the ground.

The summer of 2021 is changing the way Canadians think about climate change and the urgency that comes with it. For the first time in a Canadian election, voters will be offered a buffet of climate action. But whichever party forms the next government, the upcoming COP26 summit risks exposing Canada as a latecomer in an era of climate crisis.

Meanwhile, Trudeau accepts criticism of the climate from all sides. Conservatives accuse its government of making “arbitrary” decisions that harm the economy, while climate scientists and progressives are skeptical that Canada has the right plans to actually make a difference.

“Many Canadians understand that the climate is a challenge, but a challenge for the future,” said Environment Secretary Jonathan Wilkinson in an interview in his North Vancouver office in mid-August.

“With the forest fires in Canada, the floods in Europe and the terrible fires in Greece, people are increasingly aware that it is now with us,” said Wilkinson. “The effects are really only getting bigger and we need to act and we need to act urgently.”

The day after the interview, the smoke from the wildfire was so thick that the haze blocked the view of the North Shore Mountains behind Wilkinson’s office. Covid-19 masks worked twice to filter fine dust and the acrid smell of the ubiquitous smoke outside.

Vancouver Air Quality this day has been recorded as the worst of all major cities in the world.

Still, the climate has yet to become a groundbreaking topic of discussion during the Canadian elections as other issues have dominated the campaign so far.

Despite pledging billions to expand electric vehicle infrastructure and investing in renewable energy and carbon capture, use, and storage, Trudeau’s green credentials are becoming ever more green with the government’s decision to buy the Trans Mountain Pipeline in 2018 to ensure its construction , and their support for the now- The Keystone XL Pipeline and Line 5 from Enbridge have been canceled. Aid continues to flow into fossil fuels, despite the world’s leading economies pledging to phase out “inefficient” subsidies in 2009 and Trudeau’s rhetoric of reforming public financial support for the sector.

With polls now showing the Conservatives are in dead heat with the Liberals, it looks like the race is back in motion in 2021 Trends before the pandemic that shaped the election two years ago.

Trudeau’s team tries to portray the conservatives as a political home for climate deniers and “dinosaur. “But Conservative leader Erin O’Toole has messed up the water with his party’s detailed climate policy, a series of offers designed to appease business and show progressive voters that Conservatives have evolved.

But O’Toole’s reluctance to do so condemn climate disinformation by one of his own incumbent MPs, who warned of an impending “climate lock”, is a burden for someone who, in his first speech as federal chairman, appealed to former liberal and NDP voters to “look at the conservative party again”.

Regardless of which front runner wins, liberal or conservative, Canada will go to COP26, hampered by bits and pieces of plans for the country to make its global, fair contribution to climate protection.

Biden’s EV goal is inspired by Canada, the minister suggests

Urgency will be the topic of the upcoming COP26 climate conference of the United Nations in Glasgow. It will also be one of the first high-profile opportunities for a new Canadian government to change or strengthen the country’s reputation as a climate latecomer.

Canada has not achieved a climate target in 30 years. It is the only G-7 country that has increased its total emissions since signing the Paris Agreement in 2015.

Trudeau’s incumbent Liberals have set themselves the goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2050. In April, the federal government raised the country’s emissions reduction target from 30 to 40-45 percent from 2005-2030 levels. This new target, called Canada’s National Contribution (NDC), was officially submitted to the United Nations ahead of COP26.

Trudeau’s main rival, O’Toole, presented his party’s climate plan a week before the federal government raised the target. The Conservatives’ plan is based on the old target: 30 percent emissions reductions below 2005 levels by 2030 – a target previously set under the government of former Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

At a campaign rally in Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador last week, O’Toole said the old target was making a comeback under a new Conservative government.

“It will meet the Paris goals. It doesn’t change the Paris goals, ”he said.

The party’s climate plan also includes a pledge to investigate a marginal carbon adjustment (Treasury Department consultations launched earlier this month) and “stand up for Canada in the world by insisting that major polluters like China clean up”.

Lowering the Canadian targets, as proposed by O’Toole, would require the formal submission of a new nationally determined contribution to the United Nations, which would put the country in “Failure to comply“Under the Paris Agreement. NDCs are not seen as a legally binding obligation, but resetting a climate target would lead to criticism at home and abroad, including at COP26, where countries will be under pressure to agree on a climate target Plan to achieve increased climate ambitions, do not call back.

Canada’s raised emissions reduction target of 40-45 percent is one of the lowest of the G7 countries. The target is in line with France’s ambitions to cut emissions by 40 percent between 1990 and 2030. The UK, which is hosting COP26 this year, is on the other end of the range targeting a 78 percent cut. Level from 1990 to 2035.

Queen Elizabeth II, Canada’s Head of State, is one of the dignitaries confirmed for the November climate talks in Glasgow.

USA and Canada emphasize “North American” approach to climate goals

Last year the Canadian government banned new coal mining projects; Billions Pledged to Build Electric Vehicle Infrastructure and Retrofit Programs; agreed to work with the Biden administration on one Critical Minerals Strategy “To make Canada and the United States world leaders in all aspects of battery development and production”; and promised that all new light cars and trucks sold domestically by 2035 will be electric.

Canada’s Environment Minister believes Canada’s EV target has already made an impact in the White House.

“I think that influenced some of the mindsets in the United States, where they came out and a few weeks later announced that a 50 percent number by 2030 – which will be a more ambitious number by 2035, ”said Wilkinson. The dynamic between governments is good, he added. “It actually helps us do more and be more aggressive.”

Juggling environmental and economic policy will be a tightrope walk for the next Canadian government. Canada is home to the third largest oil reserves in the world, and industry is responsible for a quarter of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. Production is expected to increase by 20 percent by 2040.

It is a politically tense policy area because of the impact on jobs, trade and the regional economy. According to Statistics Canada, oil and gas account for 5.3 percent of the gross domestic product at the national level; and 21 percent provincial for Alberta and 25 percent for Newfoundland and Labrador.

Canada is warming twice faster than the global rate, and a major contributing factor is man-made greenhouse gas emissions, so Government data.

The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change contains Data modeling, which gave an insight into the future of Canada. In all scenarios, the modeling showed that western Canada will continue to experience above-average temperatures, particularly in the Arctic, which risks extreme drought conditions that can contribute to forest fires. In central Canada, as temperatures continue to rise, more precipitation is expected, which increases the risk and frequency of severe flooding.

These climate changes have physical, financial, and emotional costs if there is no mitigation.

The 2016 forest fire in Fort McMurray, Alberta, was a disaster that according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada. And prior to 2009, insured losses from catastrophic weather events averaged $ 400 million annually. After 2009, the cost of insured damage related to events such as floods rose to $ 1.4 billion each year.

“We need new goals”: Cabinet Minister

After four years of trade volatility under President Donald Trump, climate policy will be a key area for further US-Canada cooperation. This was evident in the Timetable President Joe Biden and Trudeau announced in February that they would identify common interests for policy development, including a critical minerals strategy, to pursue “a zero net industrial transformation, zero-emission vehicle batteries and renewable energy storage.”

However, a net zero target by 2050 is not enough to accelerate climate ambitions, according to a former environment minister in the Trudeau cabinet. Scientists agree. The newest “Reality check“The report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that global temperature is likely to reach or exceed a rise of 1.5 degrees Celsius unless there are” immediate, rapid and comprehensive “emissions reductions.

“We all have to dig much deeper,” said outgoing infrastructure minister Catherine McKenna in an interview a week before the official start of the election. “We need new goals”

McKenna said Canada’s increased emissions reduction target was “in line with science” and admitted that it may not be enough. “Maybe we have to go further,” she said. Climate math is easy, she said. “The emissions have to decrease. That’s all that has to happen. “

A Alliance of the largest Canadian oil sands producers, Canadian Natural Resources Limited, Cenovus Energy Inc., Imperial, MEG Energy and Suncor Energy are committed to moving towards net zero by 2050.

But it’s easy to toss around “net zero by 2050,” McKenna said. It is more difficult to make plans and provide actual resources to reduce emissions.

“It’s not a free card to get out of jail.”

When asked, Wilkinson neither expressly agrees nor contradicts McKenna. “We are currently less focused on raising our target again because we just raised it – but on encouraging other countries around the world to set goals and plans,” he said.

At the moment, he said, there is a plan to increase it $ 100 billion in aid annually by G7 countries for climate vulnerable countries to mitigate events exacerbated by high emission countries. Canada and Germany were instructed by the British COP26 President Alok Sharma to block the aid funds.

Next limits of climate policy

Climate change is increasingly high on the agenda of heads of state and government and voters.

An important policy area that will receive more attention in the coming years is Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, which allows countries to achieve their climate goals through “voluntary cooperation” measures such as international carbon markets.

Article 6 provisions have been proposed to address the issue of carbon leakage or when companies move to jurisdictions with more relaxed emissions regulations. Emission-intensive production such as steel, cement, electricity, aluminum and fertilizers are expected to be the first wave of industries to be affected by new CO2 border tariffs.

Proponents of the idea argue, however, that the tariffs will improve the acceptance of aggressive climate policies some in Europe have raised concerns On the potential trade impact, a warning about the cost of tariffs could collapse some industries.

the European Union is closest to a system that will be in place and operational by 2026. Democrats in the House and Senate suggested a plan last month. Canada’s position on this new frontier of climate policy is still in an exploratory phase and publishes a Background paper and start of consultations in early August. As G-7 economies move towards a carbon pricing mechanism, broad consensus is needed in Canada – but the devil is in the details.

Canada’s elections are historically held in the center. It is the sweet spot in the political spectrum that O’Toole aimed his party at last year.

O’Toole unveiled his climate plan in the spring, which included a carbon tax of a maximum of $ 50 per tonne, lower than the Liberals’ $ 170 per tonne by 2030. The plank earned the conservative leader both praise and contempt from party members one, including a faction of “Angry” farmers.

But O’Toole’s support for a carbon tax could give his party some protection for trade if Conservatives form the next government. Within the framework of the marginal CO2 tariff proposed by the Democrats POLITICO learned that the US would exempt Canada of the fee if the country’s climate policy is “as ambitious” as America’s.

Senior Liberal Ministers, including Wilkinson, Deputy Prime Minister and Treasury Secretary Chrystia Freeland, and Minister for Cultural Heritage Steven Guilbeault, have been stepping up their attacks on conservatives in recent days to define the O’Toole’s climate approach as one that would adopt Canada backward.

With just under three weeks time, the heads of state and government are now preparing for a series of high-profile leadership debates that could set a different tone and tone than the sleepy start of the campaign – minus the caravans of rowdy demonstrators following the prime minister.

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