Environment Minister John Baird, P.C. M.P.
April 25, 2007
Greenhouse gases are rising.
The climate is changing.
Winter is disappearing as we know it.
Air pollution is getting worse.
The air we breathe is dirtier than ever before.
We need to Turn the Corner.
After 13 years of inaction by the Liberal government, Canada is going in the wrong on the environment.
Since the Liberals promised to reduce greenhouse gases in 1997, they have only gone up.
They promised to meet Kyoto, but went in the opposite direction.
This is how we find ourselves today with one of the worst environmental records among industrialized countries.
Now, we need to turn things around.
We need to do a U-Turn.
On behalf of all Canadians, particular our youngest citizens, we need to find a better way.
Instead of greenhouse gases going up, we believe they should go down.
Instead of putting more carbon into the air, we believe we should put less.
Instead of our air getting dirtier, we think it should get cleaner.
Instead of childhood asthma rates rising, we think they should be declining.
Canada's New Government's Turning the Corner plan will stop the rise in greenhouse gases in 3-5 years.
The previous government was never able to put on the brakes. We will do that beginning today.
Once greenhouse gases have stopped rising, we will begin to reduce them, so that by 2020, Canada will have cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 150 million tonnes. This is 20% of our total emissions today.
If the Liberal government had instituted this plan in 1998 when they signed Kyoto, Canada would have achieved its emissions target.
Canada would be at Kyoto today.
Sadly, the real international commitments were only followed by empty rhetoric.
The same story is true for air pollution.
The Liberals did nothing to fight air pollution, but watch our air get dirtier.
We will impose stringent targets on industry so that air pollution is cut in half by 2015.
We will accomplish our goals with a concrete and realistic plan to regulate industrial air emissions.
Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Canadian industry is today served notice that it will have become more efficient in order to reduce greenhouse gases and air pollution.
We will do this by mandating strict targets for industry.
Firms will have access to a few tools to meet their targets. They will be able to:
make in-house reductions,
take advantage of domestic emissions trading,
use the Clean Development Mechanism under the Kyoto Protocol, and,
invest in a technology fund.
The design of this plan will give industry several tools to achieve real reductions.
We believe the market can help play a role. We will explore domestic trading as well as future linkages with emissions trading systems in the U.S., and possibly Mexico. Our one test for any emissions trading system will be that it is first and foremost in the best interest of Canada.
We want the Canadian industrial sector to be making real contributions here at home, now and in the future.
To achieve medium and long term reductions, industry will need to find some new solutions that don't exist today - such as a way to capture carbon and store it in the ground.
Our capped technology fund will help industry develop the solutions to produce deep reductions in greenhouse gases over time. This is true especially for electricity generation and oil sands development.
The fund is capped to ensure that it doesn't become a tax on industry and to ensure it isn't used by industry to pay its way out of achieving real reductions.
The development of new technologies will benefit the global effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It will allow Canada to become a leader in new green technologies, with potential export markets around the world.
We will not allow good actors to go unrecognized. Companies who reduced their greenhouse gas emissions prior to 2006 will also be rewarded with a one-time credit for early action.
Our Turning the Corner plan will achieve real reductions in greenhouse gases, while helping make Canadian industry more efficient and more competitive on the global stage.
Air pollution is also a real concern for Canadians.
With our plan, we will begin to turn back the hands of time on a record of rising air pollution over the last 13 years.
Our plan sets overall national fixed emissions caps for industrial pollutants that cause smog and acid rain.
We will target:
Nitrogen oxides (NOx),
Sulphur oxides (SOx),
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and
Particulate matter (PM)
The plan will produce real results that Canadians will be able to see - a cut in half of air pollution by 2015.
We will also take action to help make common consumer and commercial products -- such as dishwashers, refrigerators and air conditioners - more energy more efficient.
Yesterday, along with Gary Lunn, the Minister of Natural Resources, our government announced the banning of inefficient light bulbs.
Improved energy efficiency, means less wasted energy and less air pollution.
With our real plan, we also recognize that Canadians spend 90 percent of their time indoors, where they are exposed to various pollutants..
Therefore, we will take action to improve the quality of the air we breathe indoors starting with the identification of the most harmful pollutants in our homes and our offices.
The benefits of this plan are real - cleaner communities, healthier children, fewer premature deaths, and more sustainable natural resources.
Significant health benefits linked to air improvement are expected to lead every year to:
920 less cases of chronic bronchitis;
1,260 fewer hospital admissions and emergency room visits;
5,600 fewer cases of child acute bronchitis;
170,000 fewer asthma incidences; and,
1,200 fewer premature deaths related to air pollution;
Our plan includes an aggressive strategy on air pollution because it is critical to the health of each and every Canadian. It's too important to ignore.
Maintaining our economic growth
This is an ambitious plan - one that will require resolve, and one that comes with some costs. Part of these costs will be paid by individual Canadians and their families. The costs are real but they are manageable.
When fully mature, by 2020, total costs will be in the range of $XX per Canadian in today's dollars. This could include price increases for consumer products like vehicles, natural gas, electricity, household appliances and even groceries. We need to be prepared for this extra responsibility if we are going to get the job done.
All Canadians have a key role to play - by taking action as consumers, as employees, as business people, as parents, and as responsible citizens, we will turn the corner.
Some people will be critical of our plan, saying that it doesn't go far enough, while others will say that we are going too far.
Some environmentalists may want perfection. Some in industry may want nothing.
Our government recognizes that we were going in the wrong direction and we need to correct course.
We will not spin the wheel so hard as to put the Canadian economy in the ditch to deliver environmental plan asked for in some quarters.
We will also not keep going in the same direction, as some others wish us to do.
We will turn the corner, with a balanced plan that recognizes the urgent need to act on the environment, while also respecting our responsibility to keep Canadian families working
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