Technology Science - NDP resurrects climate change bill

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The NDP is trying again to legislate stronger targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, reintroducing a bill that was defeated by the Senate last fall.

The proposed law would set a long-term greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction target of 80 per cent below 1990 levels by 2050, and a medium-term target of 25 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020. It would also force the government to table with Parliament an interim target plan every five years.

Canada's current target is based on the less-strict 2006 base level and seeks to reduce emissions 17 per cent by 2020.

The NDP's most recent attemp made it through the House of Commons and to the Senate last fall as C-311, where it was defeated before making it to committee for study. It's much less likely to make it that far this time, with a majority Conservative government poised to vote it down.

The government may argue it has to protect the oilsands but that industry isn't Canada's only economic driver, said NDP environment critic Megan Leslie.

"We have an oilsands worth of energy at our fingertips in energy efficiency. We have an oilsands worth of energy in renewables in this country. What we lack is the political will of this government to see these opportunities for what they are," she said.

"They are opportunities to create jobs, they are opportunities to ensure our own energy security, and they are opportunities to meet our international climate change obligations."

Leslie pointed to a recent OECD report, which she says reported the world has to choose between a green economy or none at all.

"This government continues to warn of the economic disaster that will occur if we take action on climate change and they continue to tell us that they're shepherding us through this economic recovery, but they're wrong," she said.

A spokeswoman for Environment Minister Peter Kent says Canadians recently had an opportunity to consider the NDP's climate change agenda, referring to the party's second-place finish in the May 2 election.

"We look forward to the mandate given to us by the Canadian people to proceed with our plan to reduce GHG emissions in a sector by sector approach which will balance the environment and the economy," she wrote in an email.

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