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Canada now plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40 to 45 per cent by 2030, a more aggressive target than the one the country signed onto under the Paris Agreement.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the new target on Thursday morning, when he spoke at the Leaders Summit on Climate, hosted by U.S. President Joe Biden. The virtual summit is taking place Thursday and Friday this week, with 40 world leaders participating.

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“We must take action now because there’s no vaccine against a polluted planet,” Mr. Trudeau said in his Thursday morning remarks. The Liberal government has been under pressure to increase Canada’s action on climate change, with the NDP recommending a 50-per-cent cut below 2005 emission levels, and the Green Party pushing for a targeted reduction of 60 per cent.

Canada’s targets are now less aggressive than the ones set by the U.S., which announced on Thursday that they would aim to cut emissions by 52 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. It will also be harder for Canada to meet its emissions targets compared to the U.S., because the growth of Canada’s oil and gas sector since 2005 has increased emissions. Canada now needs to put in place more stringent policies in order to keep up.

In comparison, the European Commission has set a target of a 55 per cent emissions reduction below 1990 levels by 2030. The British government also announced new reductions this week, saying they would cut emissions by 78 per cent, compared to 1990 levels, by 2035.

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Ian Bailey. Menaka Raman-Wilms is filling in today. It is available exclusively to our digital subscribers. If you’re reading this on the web, subscribers can sign up for the Politics newsletter and more than 20 others on our newsletter signup page. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.

TODAY’S HEADLINES

U.S. President Joe Biden hinted on Wednesday that the U.S. may share some of its unused AstraZeneca vaccine with other countries, including Canada. The U.S. has yet to approve the AstraZeneca vaccine for use, but is expected to have a stockpile of 30 million doses by the end of the month.

The federal government is looking at Canada’s policy on travel from India as COVID-19 cases surge in the country, said Dr. Theresa Tam on Wednesday. While the government says limiting country-specific travel isn’t always effective, there’s concern over India’s COVID-19 numbers, as well as the emergence of a “variant of interest.”

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Ralph Goodale has been appointed Canada’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, the Prime Minister’s Office announced on Wednesday. Mr. Goodale will replace Janice Charette, who is now the interim Clerk of the Privy Council.

Sébastien Lemire, a Bloc Québécois MP, apologized on Wednesday for taking a nude picture of a Liberal MP last week, who was changing in his office with his camera accidently on. However, Mr. Lemire said he had “no idea” how the photo ended up in the media, and it’s not clear if he was the only MP to screenshot the incident.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford apologized to Ontarians on Thursday morning, after his government faced intense backlash for imposing restrictive pandemic measures last week, some of which have since been reversed. Mr. Ford, appearing emotional at times, was speaking from isolation at home, after close contact with a staffer who tested positive for COVID-19.

OPINION

Sheema Khan (special to The Globe and Mail) on why in Quebec, an act of injustice receives no accountability: “We must publicize the systemic discrimination, dehumanization and cruelty of Bill 21 far and wide, and confer with activists about the best way forward to address discrimination enshrined in law.”

The Editorial Board at The Globe and Mail on whether the Liberals are right that child care ‘pays for itself’: “The idea that spending on a child-care program can pay for itself is predicated, in part, on it drawing more women into the work force. Most Canadian women, however, are already in the work force.”

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Andrew Leach (for CBC News Opinion) on why Canada needs new and better climate policies, not another round of target bingo: “The fundamental problem with agreeing to reduce our emissions by the same percentage as the U.S. is that we’d require more stringent policies to reach that outcome. Since we don’t want policies too far out-of-step with those of our largest trading partner, we’ll end up not meeting our targets.”

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