Environment Commissioner warns of steep costs of cleaning up to meet 2020 targets

Canada’s Environment Commissioner tabled his 2012 report on Tuesday, warning of a very expensive bill for cleaning up existing waste sites and slamming the federal government for not having a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Scott Vaughan said it will cost $7.7 billion for Canada to clean up 13,000 federally-owned contaminated sites across the country, but the government has only set aside a fraction of that to carry out the job. On reducing greenhouse gases emissions, the auditor noted that Canada won’t even reach the targets the government set as it pulled out of the Kyoto protocol last year, particularly because there’s no solid plan to do it. Vaughan said that as it currently stands, Canada will reach 2020 emitting seven per cent more greenhouse gases than in 2005, and not 17 per cent less.

From the CBC:

The big problem appears to be the government’s sector-by-sector approach. Each set of regulations takes up to five years to develop.

So far, only three sets of regulations have been written. There are two for the transportation sector, which are in place, and one for electricity, which doesn’t come into effect until 2015.

There are no regulations yet for the oil and gas sector, which is the fastest-growing GHG emitter, accounting for one-fifth of Canada’s total emissions. The auditor notes that regulations for this sector are expected to be made public by December.

All this is compounded by the lack of an overall implementation plan to show how the government’s multiple regulations will lead to the end goal of GHGs falling 17 percent below 2005 levels.


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