The Liberal government finally revealed Wednesday its plan to meet Kyoto targets -- spending approximately $10-billion over the next seven years.
The plan requires annual reductions of 270 million tonnes a year within the next seven years, as reported by The Globe and Mail last month.
However, it does not specify how much of that will be obtained by cutting actual pollution and how much by purchasing emissions credits from poor countries.
The plan calls on large emitters to cut emissions by 36 megatonnes, substantially less than the 55 megatonnes called for in the original Kyoto plan.
Morag Carter, the Director of the Climate Change Program at the David Suzuki Foundation pointed out that the plan means the average Canadian will bear the brunt of cutting emissions.
"With our calculations, 74 per cent of targets will be achieved through individual contributions to cut emissions but Canadians are only responsible for 23 per cent of emissions," Ms. Carter told globeandmail.com.
The plan's centrepiece is a $1-billion Climate Fund, which could be increased to up to $5-billion in coming years. It would be used to fund emissions-cutting projects.
The plan is intended to "mobilize Canadians in a national effort" to create a low-carbon economy, and will require frequent revision as times goes on, officials said.
Some environmentalists were highly critical.
"There are significant problems with the plan," Ms. Carter said. "There are no details of how the milestones will be met and there is an absence of instruments in measuring success."
Dale Marshall, of the David Suzuki Foundation, told the Canadian Press that there is "a really disturbing lack of detail" in much of the plan.
"One of the major flaws of the plan is the weak targets for industry which puts an incredible burden on the rest of the Canadian economy," he said.
The details on cost estimates and implementation were revealed Wednesday afternoon by Environment Minister Stéphane Dion, Natural Resources Minister John Efford and Industry Minister David Emerson.
The opposition parties have criticized the Liberals for delaying the announcement, considering that the Kyoto accord took effect nearly two months ago.
Canada signed the agreement, which commits 55 nations, in 2002.
A main component of the plan is to replace coal-fired generating plants with cleaner electricity sources.
It also includes cuts in greenhouse-gas emissions by using new technologies that capture carbon dioxide that would otherwise escape during petroleum production.
Matthew Branley, the director of climate change for the Pembina Institute, spoke to CBC Newsworld on Wednesday about the plan.
"Essentially what the government is expected to announce is it's going to be spending money to essentially purchase emission reductions ... and also through purchasing international credits," said Mr. Branley, a critic of the Kyoto plan.
"Because Canada really has wasted so much time since the Kyoto conference - more than seven years now, our emissions are still rising. We're going to have to make substantial use of purchases of international credits to meet our targets as well."
With a report from Jeff Sallot