Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole announces climate change plan

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At the recent virtual Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) convention, delegates voted down a policy motion that stated climate change was real, and that the CPC had to take action to address it. Now, here in the weeks following that party decision, the Honourable Erin O’Toole, Leader of Canada’s Conservatives and the Official Opposition, unveiled the Conservative climate change plan. He told delegates in a recent speech that the debate on the reality of climate change must end, because climate change is real.

A CPC press release announced that Canada has an important role in combating climate change. It stated that this plan will achieve the same emission reductions by 2030 as the Liberal government’s current plan, while creating jobs and growing the economy.

“Our plan takes swift action on climate change,” said the Honourable O’Toole. “Our plan trusts Canadian families to be part of the climate change plan. When compared to the Trudeau Carbon Tax, our plan is just as effective in emission reduction, but vastly superior in preserving jobs and growing the Canadian economy.”

The issue of Canada’s targets in relation to the Paris Accord has been an issue of some contention in the House of Commons since the targets were set. A current analysis of the climate reduction efforts by Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) found that the current climate-related policies that are in effect would only take us 63 per cent of the way to the 2030 target, which already falls short of what is recommended by science. This target was the same target that was set by former Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and later adopted by the Liberal Government of Canada.

Under the 2015 Paris Agreement, Canada committed to reducing its Green House Gas (GHG) emissions by 30% below 2005 levels by 2030, which means a reduction from the 730 megatonnes of carbon dioxide released in 2005 to 511 megatonnes of carbon dioxide in 2030.

The criticism about the target is that it falls short of what is recommended, and that is to cut emissions roughly in half by 2030 in order to keep the window open of holding to 1.5° Celsius global temperature increase.

In February, the United Nations released a UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) report analyzing the updated climate action plans submitted by 75 nations. At that time, the United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, expressed concerns that the report was a red alert for our planet, and demonstrated that governments are nowhere close to the level of ambition needed to limit climate change to 1.5 degrees temperature increase and actually meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.

The Conservative Party plan includes scrapping the federal carbon tax, but maintains a price on carbon. They plan to work with the provinces to implement an innovative, national Personal Low Carbon Savings Account. It includes several other measures, including: requiring automakers to sell more zero emission vehicles; lowering industrial emissions; increasing use of natural gas; and implementing a low carbon fuel standard.

The Personal Low Carbon Savings Accounts will work like the loyalty rewards plans offered by retailers, financial institutions, and airlines. Each time a hydrocarbon-based fuel is purchased, the consumer will be putting money into a tax-free savings account simply by using their personal account card – as you do with loyalty plans at the gas pump or in the store, states the CPC press release.

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