The federal government and the provinces have developed a hodgepodge of strategies for cutting carbon emissions that do not mesh with each other and are ultimately an inefficient way to tackle climate change, says a new report by the Conference Board of Canada.
The report, released Wednesday, says despite "a patchwork" of unco-ordinated federal and provincial initiatives, Canada's output of greenhouse-gas emissions has stabilized and begun to decline since 2005. But the strong downward trend that is needed to mitigate global warming and to meet the targets that have been set for 2020 has yet to emerge, the report says.
"Without an accelerated pace of climate policy action, Canadian governments are unlikely to meet their own targets," Len Coad, the Conference Board's director of energy, environmental and technology policy, said in a release.
"Not only is policy co-ordination among governments more likely to reduce emissions at a lower cost," Mr. Coad said, "it would help governments to learn from the practices of others."
The report says provincial plans have been developed to meet their own unique situations.
In Alberta, the largest energy producer with the largest emissions, the plan emphasizes greener energy production, and technologies such as carbon capture and storage.
In Ontario and Quebec, the focus has been on reducing energy consumption and, in Ontario's case, increasing its reliance on greener electricity.
The federal government, meanwhile, is promoting renewable electricity generation and regulating vehicle emissions.
The report says there is no real way to measure the effectiveness of any of these initiatives because they were established with long-term targets in mind.
In addition, it says, the goals have only been partly spelled out, there is a lack of understanding about what is to be achieved by each specific action, and there is uncertainty about long-term spending commitments.
"Better communication of the policy priorities, emissions impacts and interactions between climate action items," the report says, "would help Canadians understand the process and would make it easier to measure progress."