Canada's New Green Plan: Not Very

I have spent some time trying to find words to describe Environment Minister John Baird's performance in an interview on CBC with Avi Lewis on Friday morning, but can think of few suitable for a family friendly site. (painful listening here) He had 22 minutes to defend the new Green Plan, and used it all to blame the previous government for not doing anything, three times saying "I can't turn back the hands of time", never answering a direct question and just saying over and over "its the best green plan in the world".

Which it isn't. We applaud the ban of incandescent bulbs, which has become the target of abuse from the right wing media, (how many times can I cancel my subscription to the National Post?) but our biggest problem, the tar sands, essentially gets a free pass with "intensity limits"- they have to reduce the amount of GHG emitted for each barrel of oil produced, but can produce as much oil as they can, without caps. Other opinions on the plan:

David Suzuki: " it's not a strategy, it's a sham."

Elizabeth May: "a tragic day for Canada"

Jack Layton: "We're not going to get the job done"

Julia Langer of the World Wildlife Fund:

"They way they have put it -- 20 per cent reduction by 2020 - they're counting according to a baseline that nobody uses," she told CTV Newsnet.

If you calculate that based on the internationally recognized baseline, we're still going to be above 1990 levels in 2020. That's nowhere near our Kyoto target."

She also added that asking industry for an 18 per cent reduction in emission by 2010 is also misleading.

"That's an emission intensity figure. So in other words, they're going to ask industry to reduce their intensity -- not their emissions - of how fast they pollute. So they'll slow that down, and it will be business as usual."

DeSmog Blog: "Canada, as one of the richest countries in the world, has the capacity to be a leader, to get out front in figuring out how to conserve energy and develop new clean energy technologies. And Canadians are stating with increasing clarity that they want that leadership.

No luck. Instead of coaxing us toward the front of the international pack, our leaders have chosen to stick to their tired old horses, leaving some modern-day Henry Ford to invent the replacement technology in some other jurisdiction.

It is an important opportunity - lost.

Tags: Canada

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