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Green Party of Canada sets a high bar with climate platform

Photo by: Green Party of Canada

VICTORIA — Dan Woynillowicz, policy director at Clean Energy Canada, made the following statement in response to the federal Green Party of Canada’s costed climate platform. Clean Energy Canada is responding to every federal party’s climate plan as they’re released.

“The Green Party of Canada’s climate platform sets a high bar, with incredibly ambitious targets for cutting carbon pollution and rapidly transforming how energy is produced and used in Canada. With climate change a top of mind issue for Canadians, this platform lives up to its billing as an unprecedented effort to cut carbon pollution.

“The Greens’ plan builds off of existing federal climate change policy, aggressively increasing both the pace and scale of federal efforts relative to those outlined by other federal parties. 

“That said, it also articulates objectives that would require provincial cooperation as a prerequisite, or would require actions that are clearly beyond the jurisdiction of the federal government—notably with respect to the ambitious targets for zero-carbon electricity and interprovincial power lines. While the establishment of a Council of Canadian Governments is an important initiative that holds the potential to overcome this challenge, it falls short of a guarantee that these actions would be taken and the associated pollution cuts would be delivered.

“There are also seeming inconsistencies, such as the commitment to end foreign oil imports and support for increased bitumen upgrading—both of which would lead to an increase in emissions and may require government subsidies.

“But the bulk of the efforts are focused on enabling Canadians to cut pollution associated with our buildings and how we get around.

“Retrofitting all buildings in Canada to be carbon neutral by 2030 would be an unprecedented endeavour. A retrofit rate of one in 10 Canadian homes per year is incredibly ambitious, considering the EU is targeting about 3% per year. It also isn’t clear whether these would focus on deep energy efficiency retrofits, or more expensive on-site renewable energy systems—which achieve the same goal, but differently. And while $2.75 billion is a lot of money, no details are available to verify whether this would be sufficient to achieve the 100% retrofit goal by 2030.

“Significant investments in enhanced transit and cleaner transportation are noteworthy, with the most significant investment focused on supporting a national passenger rail system, although details are scant. 

“It appears the federal government’s current zero-emission vehicle incentive—a rebate of up to $5,000 on vehicles less than $45,000—would be replaced with a GST exemption on both new and used zero-emission vehicles. This would deliver less than half the incentive ($2,250) for a $45,000 vehicle, and a more generous—but arguably less necessary—incentive the higher the vehicle price. No costing of this measure was provided, nor is it clear whether this is a time-limited or permanent exemption.  

“The above efforts would—by virtue of creating a growing market for clean technologies and services—continue to create jobs in Canada’s fast-growing and already significant clean energy sector, explored in Clean Energy Canada’s most recent report. Promised funding for technical schools for alternative energy training would help educate a portion of this growing workforce.

“Ultimately, there is no denying the seriousness or level of ambition the Green Party of Canada has for tackling climate change in this country. On climate action, they are playing a lead role in what has turned into a historic race to the top for three of Canada’s federal parties this election.” 


Release | Conservatives fail to deliver ‘a real plan’ on climate

Release | NDP helps set the stage for a battle of climate plans

Brief | Anybody can have a climate plan, but what makes for an effective one?

Poll | Broad support for a range of policies—including carbon pricing—to help reduce emissions and fight climate change (Abacus Data and Clean Energy Canada)

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