Federal report scorns Canada's climate-change plan for exaggerating carbon cuts

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The Canadian government’s own environmental advisory panel has slammed Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservatives for overestimating the greenhouse-gas reductions that will be achieved through its climate-change policies.

The National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy, comprised of leaders from business, labor, universities and environmental groups, examined 22 programs in the government’s climate-change plan and found they either overestimated projected emission reductions or based them on insufficient data.

In some cases, the Tory plan double counts some of the cuts it is supposed to make, the advisory council says.

That said, however, the panel supported Harper’s contention it is better to focus on long-term plans for climate change than cause short-term havoc to meet Kyoto targets. It backed the government’s stand that Kyoto targets will not be met, but emissions will start to go down in 2010.

The government released its climate-change plan last summer as a result of the passing of C-288, a private member’s bill that required government to table a strategy for Canada to comply with Kyoto. The roundtable is required under the law to assess that plan.

Essentially, the government plan promised to stop the rise of greenhouse gases during the Kyoto period and reduce them 20 per cent below 2006 levels by 2020. Canada’s Kyoto target is to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions to 6 per cent below 1990 levels during the years 2008 to 2012.

Ecojustice and Friends of the Earth, meanwhile, have filed suit in federal court saying the Tories’ failure to uphold the Kyoto Protocol amounts to an illegal act.

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