Oh Canada, Your Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction Pledge is Actually an Increase

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photo: Owen Byrne via flickr.

Here's one about the importance of standardized measurements: CBC News reports that Canada has announced that it will take the United States' lead on emissions reductions, pledging to reduce emissions 17% from 2005 levels by 2020.

Remember that, when compared to the internationally-used baseline of reductions from 1990 levels, the US commitment really amounts to a less than 5% reduction. How does Canada's compare? As you can tell by the headline, not well:Emissions Will Be 2.5% Higher...
Inputting Canada's targets into a handy greenhouse gas emission reduction target converter that the good people of Sandbag created before COP15 reveals that using the 1990 baseline, Canada's emissions will actually be 2.5% higher.

They will be about 15% lower than they are today, that much is a good thing. But the increase in emissions between 1990 and 2005 was such that it pulls the teeth from the reduction pledge.

...When They Need to be 40% Lower
Keep in mind that reductions by 2020 from 1990 levels need to be in the 40% range in industrialized nations to put us on a track to keep global average temperature rise below the critical threshold of +2°C and give us a shot at returning CO2 concentrations to 350ppm.

So by, in the words of Environment Minister Jim Prentice, aligning "our policies with those of our continental partner," Canada is actually sending its emissions in the wrong direction to make a meaningful impact on preventing dangerous warming.

Personally I don't understand why any nation uses the 2005 baseline except if it is trying to make its action seem more important than they are.

Global Climate Change
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G8 Nations 'Clearly Ignored' Our Recommendations on Emission Reductions: IPCC Chairman
Germany Stands Up For Science - Maintains 40% by 2020 Emissions Reduction Pledge

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