Second time’s a charm. Deuxième fois, ça suffit.
Yesterday, Canada’s parliament voted in support of the second reading of Bill C-311 (French and English full text here, summary here and below) the country’s first national commitment to greenhouse gas reductions. As a ratifying member of the Kyoto Protocol, the government has now committed, through this bill, to reduce emissions by 25% below 1990 levels by 2020, and by 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.
The Bill now needs to be passed in its third reading and then approved by the Senate. Once this happens, Canada will be committed to meeting scientifically required levels of greenhouse gas emission reductions.
This is an excellent move forwards, and the complete passing of the Bill would be a big step forwards for Canada, a country that has been known to show up at the UN climate negotiations in recent years to speak misleadingly of its commitments relative to current emissions, when the world talks in terms of the internationally-accepted baseline of 1990.
Summary of Bill:
The purpose of this enactment is to ensure that Canada meets its global climate change obligations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change by committing to a long-term target to reduce Canadian greenhouse gas emissions to a level that is 80% below the 1990 level by the year 2050, and by establishing interim targets for the period 2015 to 2045. It creates an obligation on the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development to review proposed measures to meet the targets and submit a report to Parliament.
Le texte vise à faire en sorte que le Canada respecte ses obligations en matière de changement du climat mondial, conformément à la Convention-cadre des Nations Unies sur les changements climatiques, en s’engageant à atteindre une cible à long terme selon laquelle les émissions canadiennes de gaz à effet de serre seront, d’ici 2050, réduites de 80 % par rapport au niveau de 1990 et en établissant des cibles intérimaires pour la période de 2015 à 2045. Il impose au commissaire à l’environnement et au développement durable l’obligation d’examiner les mesures proposées pour atteindre les cibles et l’obligation de présenter un rapport au Parlement.
- Total votes: 269
- Yes: 141 (Liberal, Bloc and New Democrat Party)
- No: 128 (Conservative)
The bill was introduced by the New Democrat Party, put forward by Environment Critic Bruce Hyer. It failed the first time it as tabled.
It is exciting that this bill has passed its second reading, yet still thoroughly upsetting that
- it passed marginally by 13 votes, and
- the Conservative party voted unanimously against the bill.
It would not surprise me if Canada was the last country on earth with climate change accepted as a partisan issue. One needs only to glance over to Germany, the UK or the US to understand that climate change is neither negotiable nor political.
A big thank you to all of you that worked with your Members of Parliament to vote in favor of this bill. A massive step forward after years of shuffled steps back.
Please take the time to continue contacting your Member of Parliament, thank them if they voted in favor, and ask them to support the Bill when it comes to its third reading.
Note: Canada has four political parties in the House of Commons. Loosely described as Conservative (right), Liberal (central), New Democrat Party/NDP (left), and the Bloc Québecois (for Quebec as a nation in itself). There is also the rising force of the Green Party of Canada, though there are no representatives yet to be voted into the House.