Hopes of Climate Success at COP26 Fuel Canada’s New Environment Minister

With a plan to finally deliver promised international climate finance now complete, Canada’s newly appointed Climate Minister Steven Guilbeault is “cautiously optimistic” about the success of the upcoming United Nations talks in Glasgow, he told a conference of press on Friday.

“We have already established solutions for a very complicated element of the negotiations for which we had not been able to find solutions for more than 10 years, so for me, that is very encouraging,” he said.

More than a decade ago, rich countries promised developing countries that they would raise at least $ 100 billion a year by 2020 to support the transition of developing countries to a net zero economy, but the latest figures 2019 show that only about 80 percent of that funding has arrived. Furthermore, a report released Monday showed that the $ 100 billion figure would not be reached until 2023, effectively delaying any transition and hampering negotiations at COP26, the UN climate conference that brings together world leaders to craft agreements to reduce global warming.

Some countries see climate finance as a prerequisite for increasing their own greenhouse gas reduction targets. It’s one of the biggest stress points at this year’s COP because growing climate ambition calls for increased funding for climate solutions. Guilbeault suggested the plan in place – which admits a significant delay but at least offers an estimate of when the money might arrive – would help bring the parties together in the negotiations, calling it “a significant step forward.”

Julia Levin, senior director of programs for the climate group Environmental Defense, says delaying funding years after the promised deadline is “incredibly irresponsible” for rich countries.

Earlier this year, Canada Announced it would double its international climate finance from C $ 2.65 billion to $ 5.3 billion over the next five years to help close the gap. Levin said that even the doubling amount is about a tenth of what Canada’s fair share should be.

“We should be contributing … $ 5 billion every year, not every five,” he said.

That’s for a number of reasons, including Canada’s relative wealth and its historic contribution to climate change. An analysis by UK-based Carbon Brief looked at countries’ emissions since 1850 to calculate which ones have contributed the most to climate change overall and found Canada in the top 10 contributors. The same study also found Canada in first place for emissions per capita.

Guilbeault used the press conference to confirm that he would advance the liberal campaign’s promise to limit emissions from the oil and gas sector, but did not elaborate and said the plan would be developed through consultation.

He was also asked about where he is in the pipelines of megaprojects like the Trans Mountain expansion, which he remarkably opposite before his time in government. Guilbeault said she “would not write history again,” explaining that she entered politics after it was already bought out.

However, buying and building are two different things. The most recent evidence shows that the pipeline will not be in service until the end of 2023, and the cost is likely to push $ 20 billion, much higher than the February 2020 estimate of $ 12.6 billion.

New climate minister @s_guilbeault says he’s optimistic about # COP26, but until Canada starts cutting emissions, can the country’s efforts be taken seriously? #cdnpoli #Glasgow

Guilbeault did not speak about whether he would seek to cancel it in light of delays and cost overruns, and the environment department did not respond to questions to clarify the government’s position on TMX in light of recent International Energy Agency forecasts showing the Oil demand is reduced in all scenarios.

“The important thing is to look at what we are doing to reduce emissions in Canada, and we are doing a number of things,” Guilbeault said.

He highlighted the carbon pricing plan introduced in 2019, as well as the net zero legislation adopted before the House of Commons broke the summer, and said it would make progress on limiting emissions from the oil and gas sector. . He also stressed that Canada has “come a long way” in improving its climate performance since Justin Trudeau took office in 2015.

Levin said it was time for Canada to address emissions from the oil and gas sector.

“It may have a high (greenhouse gas reduction target), but if it doesn’t translate into significant emissions reductions starting this year (and) through the end of the decade, those promises don’t make sense,” he said.

Levin said there was no expectation that Guilbeault would cancel a project like TMX in his first week as climate minister, but that climate leadership would require Canada to take decisive action against fossil fuel emissions by taking steps such as canceling fossil fuel mega-projects.

“Let’s not rule out (the federal government) yet,” he said, explaining that this week’s cabinet change had some encouraging appointments, such as Guilbeault to lead the climate file, while former Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson was moved to Natural Resources. from Canada, suggesting tackling oil. and gas emissions could be a priority of Trudeau’s third term.

That said, he noted that it is important to temper the positive signs with the reality that the same party has not made significant progress since it was elected years ago.

“We are the only G7 country where emissions have increased since the signing of the Paris Agreement, we have the weakest Goal 2030 at the G7, we give more public funding to the fossil fuel sector than any other G20 country, “he said.

“Those are the facts, and the facts speak for themselves when it comes to Canada’s climate record.”

John Woodside / Local Journalism Initiative / Canada National Observer


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