Full Text of Speech:
Mr. Bruce Hyer (Thunder Bay—Superior North, GP): Mr. Speaker, Canada has the weakest performance of any G7 country in meeting our climate projection targets. We also have weak targets to boot. Climate change is happening now and is having very real consequences on the lives of people. It is disrupting national economies and ecologies.
It is time for a real plan to prevent dangerous climate change in Canada. Canada’s proposed targets only focus on methane and nitrous oxide emissions rather than CO2, which is the main greenhouse gas. The plan still does not include regulations on oil sands at all, which is one of the fastest growing sources of emissions here. Canada is currently ranked among the world’s top 10, or maybe I should say bottom, CO2 polluters. Alberta is accountable for 73% of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions growth since 1990.
Only an immediate and fast transition to a clean energy system would ensure that we help to avoid dangerous climate change from rapid global warming. Instead, the federal government has chosen to regulate methane from the oil and gas sector as well as emissions from chemicals and nitrogen fertilizers. That is good. However, Canada needs to go further than planned in controlling all greenhouse gases, not just some.
The new greenhouse gas reduction target is 30% over the next 15 years. However, how exactly is this going to happen? What is the plan? These proposed new targets would be achieved five years later than those proposed by the U.S.A., and would only move Canada to 14% below 1990 levels of greenhouse gases. These proposed targets are a step forward but do not put Canada on the right track to carbon reduction. Prominent economists and policy advisors from across North America and the political spectrum have recommended carbon fee and dividend as the best way to slow the progress of climate change and to price carbon. It is the official policy of the Green Party of Canada and the Citizens Climate Lobby.
Canadian C02 emissions have been rising for decades under both the Conservatives and Liberal. Stalling this issue into the future will only worsen the problem. We are one of the highest C02 polluters per person in the world. We have an obligation to our children and grandchildren to deal with this problem The carbon fee and dividend plan would make coal mines and oil and gas wells pay for their C02 emissions at the source, but not a penny goes to the government. The dividends generated from these payments will be paid directly back to Canadians on an equal per capita basis. It would be totally revenue neutral. It is a fee, not a tax. It is a fee based on science. It does not rise and fall with the use of fossil fuels, and not a penny goes to government. Carbon fee and dividend would use the marketplace to reduce C02 emissions, guide Canada toward a transition to sustainable energy, and put money into the pockets of Canadian consumers. The carbon fee and dividend system would help Canada to meet our responsibilities in fighting climate change.
The Green Party will make carbon fee and dividend a priority item on the first agenda of the proposed Council of Canadian Governments.
The Conservatives have dug our economy deep into the tar sands, and we are now all suffering the consequences. The first step is to develop and approve in Parliament a national energy strategy. We are the only G20 country without one. We need a clear plan to meet Canada’s energy needs, address climate change, and shift to sustainable energy.
Therefore, I will renew my question tonight, which is this. When will the current government start working on a real strategy to help tackle climate change in Canada, preferably carbon fee and dividend?