Environment Committee on March 31st, 2008
Evidence of meeting #22 for Environment and Sustainable Development in the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was emissions.
A recording is available from Parliament.
On the agenda
The Chair Bob Mills
Nathan Cullen Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC
Mr. Chair, I think Mr. Harvey has created his own measure of fiction and fantasy as to how this process actually works. If Mr. Harvey would like to show up at committee having done his homework, having presented any amendments that he wishes to discuss with the committee or any observations, that would be welcome. He is participating in a filibuster on behalf of his government, for reasons he knows not. That is his choice. I will not aid or abet this waste of taxpayer dollars and assist Mr. Harvey in some fantastical discussion that he would like to embark upon.
The Chair Bob Mills
Thank you, Mr. Cullen.
Mr. Harvey, if you wish to continue, I think you've had the answer or non-answer, however you want to interpret it. Just carry on.
Luc Harvey Louis-Hébert, QC
I am being accused of filibustering when in fact all I've done is ask some very brief questions. My turn to ask questions came up about three minutes ago. I had five questions in mind, and I've already asked four of them. They were the type of questions that required answers such as “yes”, “no”, “before” or “after”. Is putting a simple question to the party sponsoring the bill a case of filibustering? I did not put the question to my Liberal or Bloc colleagues, but to my colleague who represents the party that sponsored the bill now before the committee.
Certain statements were also made by his party's leader. I asked him whether or not he agreed with what his leader said. If he does not want to answer the question...
This is looking more and more like the bill tabled by the Liberals around the time of the Kyoto Protocol. They have since admitted publicly that they drafted the bill on a paper napkin while on an airplane and that in every respect they had improvised. Today, the NDP representative is showing us just how much his party is improvising, perhaps with some help from the opposition. I am pleased that the record will show that this bill is seriously flawed. Perhaps these proceedings are being televised as well.
According to Ms. Donnelley's study, 99% of Saskatchewan's GDP and 56% of Alberta's GDP would be affected. How can we say that there will not be a problem and that everything will be the same as it was in the case of the Grand Trunk railway initiative? If 56% of Saskatchewan's GDP is affected, that is worse than a nuclear bomb. A 5% hit already means a serious recession. I don't know if there an any scenarios on the books for a hit of over 50%. That scenario is unfathomable! I have a hard time believing that for the sake of an ideology...
The Conservative party has often been criticized for being an ideological party. I asked if a costing should be done, yes or no. They refused to answer my question. I asked if such a study should be done before or after the bill is adopted. Again, no answer was forthcoming. I asked if Ms. Donnelley's study was sound. Again, no response. What's going on here? When rather serious questions are raised about this bill, no one wants to answer them.
Mr. Chairman, I'm wondering if perhaps there is some way to force my colleague to answer these questions so that we can move forward and establish what is reasonable, and what is not. I think these questions are reasonable. It is reasonable to want to know how the Canadian economy will be affected by this bill.
When the spokesperson for David Suzuki testified before the committee, I asked him what benefit there was to the environment to produce aluminum in China, when seven tons of emissions were produced per ton of aluminum produced, whereas in Canada, the figure was four tons of emissions per ton produced. I was told that it was important for China and all emerging economies to be a part of this initiative. That is exactly what our Prime Minister is saying. That is precisely what the Minister of the Environment has been saying for the past six months. The NDP, the Bloc Québécois and the Liberals have refused to acknowledge the fact that it is important for everyone to be involved in this initiative.
I believe in a clean environment. We must bequeath to our children the best possible environment we can, but not at any cost. We need to have something left over after reductions of 52%. What is the NDP calling for today? It wants to see GHG emissions cut by 52% by the year 2020. That is a formidable challenge in that in 13 years, our colleagues have made the situation 27% worse, instead of improving it by 52%.
My Liberal colleagues who support this bill are being a little hypocritical. I appreciate that the Conservative Party is very efficient, that it keeps its promises and generally does what it says it will do, but to cut emissions by 52% is to take on responsibility for someone else's mess.
It is outrageous, to say the least, that 13 years after the signing of the Kyoto Protocol, we're discussing targets that are 33% higher than the original ones set.
Asking that we hold off until impact and cost studies are done before approving Bill C-377 is almost akin to moving a friendly amendment.The 99% figure mentioned by my Saskatchewan colleague warrants further consideration. We need to look at what we can do to help them deal with this. The situation may not be quite as serious in Quebec, where the figure mentioned is only 9.8%, but beyond 5%, we're already looking at a major recession.
Mr. Chairman, I would like my colleague Mr. Cullen to consider the following friendly amendment asking that we wait until a cost study has been done before we adopt Bill C-377.
The Chair Bob Mills
We do have the question of the NDP amendment, and that's not really an amendment to this particular clause, so I cannot accept that amendment at this point. We can accept it after we deal with the amendment we're facing. We're looking at NDP-5, and we need to vote on that and then proceed.
Mr. Harvey, all I would say is that you will find in planet Ottawa that there are many more questions than there are answers.
So that everyone is clear, NDP-5 would add a paragraph (c).
(Amendment agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])
The Chair Bob Mills
We're now looking at clause 10 as amended.
I'm not sure who had their hand up first.
Mark Warawa Langley, BC
Thank you, Chair.
As I was listening to my colleagues, who share a similar concern that I have, I was going over the need for an impact analysis or a cost analysis. The first person who was asking for that was Mr. Layton. When Mr. Layton came on December 11, he said he wanted the government to do an impact analysis. He also went on to say that “Matthew Bramley will be your next witness...and he will be describing his research and this report”. He also shared that Mr. Bramley had been consulted and helped write Bill C-377.
Mr. Bramley was asked about whether or not it had been costed. It was actually Mr. Vellacott who asked him this, and he said:
Mr. Bramley, does your report do any economic modelling that specifically focuses on Canada? In your report, “The Case for Deep Reductions”, do you have any economic modelling that focuses on Canada?
It was a very clear question. Mr. Bramley's answer was:
We cite a number of economic modelling studies but none that relate specifically to meeting the target we advocate for Canada in 2050. To my knowledge, that hasn't been done, and it needs to be done.
So what we have here, right at the beginning, on December 11, is Mr. Layton and Mr. Bramley--
The Chair Bob Mills
Mr. Cullen, on a point of order.
Nathan Cullen Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC
I'm looking at the same testimony. This has been consistently read into the record by Mr. Warawa, but he's absolutely got it backwards in terms of the actual testimony that came from Mr. Layton. I'd like to give him the opportunity to correct himself.
Mr. Warawa asked him to keep his answers short and Mr. Layton abides by that. The testimony of December 11 says this: “So at this point you have not costed your plan? So you're asking the government to cost your plan.” As the testimony given before says, “This is a set of targets.” That is Mr. Layton's testimony.
The parliamentary secretary continually misspeaks himself and presents the testimony as otherwise.
These are Mr. Layton's words: “It will be up to the governments of the day to advance plans and figure out how we achieve these targets.” That is exactly the testimony.
He can continue talking about other people's testimony, but that is exactly what Mr. Layton said, that “It will be up to the governments of the day to advance plans and figure out how we achieve these targets.” He said, “This is a set of targets.”
The Chair Bob Mills
Mr. Cullen, I think that clarifies the point. I'm sure Mr. Warawa will take note of that testimony and make any necessary corrections.
March 31st, 2008 / 5 p.m.
Mark Warawa Langley, BC
Thank you, Chair.
That's on page 8 of the evidence. My first question is, have you costed your plan? The response from Mr. Layton is that this is a set of targets, and that it will be up to the government of the day. That's this government. Bill C-377 is being considered right now. It's up to the government of the day to advance plans and figure out how we achieve those targets. He's saying it's up to the government to cost it. So it's absolutely accurate.
This is the question that keeps coming up: has it been costed? Mr. Layton said to cost it. It needs to be costed by the government. Mr. Bramley said it needs to be costed.
I went to the testimony of Vicki Pollard from the EU and Mr. James Hughes from the U.K. They recommended that an impact assessment be done before Bill C-377 move forward.
We've heard from every witness group, even the sponsor of the bill, even the person who helped write the bill. I think the question Canadians have is, what has changed? Mr. Layton is saying to do an impact analysis, a costing. And now Mr. Cullen is getting different directions from Mr. Layton. Mr. Layton began by saying to do a costing, and now he's telling Mr. Cullen to tell this committee not to do one. He's telling us not to do one now, to move forward with this bill without knowing what it's going to cost. Well, that's not the way to do things. You need to know whether it's feasible, whether it's been costed. It's very important. This is what we've been advised even from the EU, even from the U.K. Both have recommended an impact analysis.
Mr. Cullen is asking us to move an amendment. I think the analogy that Mr. Vellacott used of trying to build a house on a bad foundation was a good one. I've built a number of houses, and you have to start with a strong foundation. The footings have to be built on solid ground. You dig down to hard pan, or you put in pilings, but you have to have a solid foundation; otherwise it won't stand. We've heard from witness group after witness group that Bill C-377 does not have a good foundation. That's why I'm not moving an amendment on Bill C-377, because it's a badly flawed bill.
The Liberals have provided a number of amendments, as have the Bloc and the NDP. I trust they made those motions in good faith, but we have to get the witnesses back to find out if they came up with a bill that's going to be effective. We don't know that. They want us to move forward without all the information. That's very dangerous.
We have right now Canada's Turning the Corner plan, the regulatory framework on emissions. It is a plan that has been costed. It's a plan that will be effective. It will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020.
We also have absolute reductions in the Turning the Corner plan—60% to 70% by 2050. These are definitely the toughest targets in Canadian history and one of the toughest in the world.
If we had had a plan like this in place by a Conservative government back in the mid-nineties, we definitely would have been able to meet international targets. But we took over in 2006, and we ended up 33% off target. So we have a lot of making up to do. But this government is committed to absolute reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
Commissioner Ron Thompson was here a couple of weeks ago, and the NDP made the startling admission that the opposition's focus has been on trying to make sure the government fails. A comment was made by the NDP, admitting that this is what they've been trying to do, to cause the government to fail. But this government is not failing. The government is moving forward with absolute reductions of greenhouse gas emissions. Why? Because it needs to happen. We cannot permit greenhouse gas emissions to continue to climb in Canada or any other country in the world, and that's why we've taken strong leadership and have a plan that has been costed, that has policy, and that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Canada's new government launched an ambitious and realistic agenda to protect the health of Canadians, to improve environmental quality, and to position Canada as a clean energy superpower. The proposed framework is comprehensive and includes mandatory and enforceable reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases and air pollutants. It also engages all Canadians to take significant measurable action at home in Canada.
The reason we focus on both greenhouse gas emissions and pollutants is that pollutants are the cause of death of one in twelve Canadians. Poor air quality has a major impact on the health of Canadians, costing billions of health care dollars and causing a reduction in quality of life, but also one Canadian in twelve dies. That's why our plan includes greenhouse gas reductions but also aims to clean up the air Canadians are breathing.
Climate change is a global issue of major concern to Canadians. Human activities continue to increase the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, producing changes in the climate that are already apparent. And they are. Being from British Columbia, I've seen the mountain pine beetle kill.
Very serious problems are being caused already in Canada by climate change. These changes include altered wind and precipitation patterns and the increased incidence of extreme weather events, droughts, and forest fires. In addition, glacier melt and warmer oceans could lead to significant rises in sea levels. The changes could imperil the way of life in vulnerable communities around the world and here in Canada. The changes would also result in significant economic costs.
It is critical that Canada do its part to address its own contribution to global climate change, and we are doing that. After many years of our not doing what we should be doing—and the Commissioner of the Environment sadly said there were a lot of announcements made but very little action, and we saw our emissions continue to climb, and climb, and climb, which was very embarrassing to Canada internationally—those days are over. We've now moved from voluntary action to mandatory regulatory action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Air pollution is a significant threat to human health and the Canadian environment. Each year smog contributes to thousands of deaths. There are other air pollutant problems such as acid rain and threatened biodiversity in forest and freshwater ecosystems. In order to address the real concern of Canadians suffering from the health effects of air pollution and to clean up Canada's environment, the government must act to reduce emissions of air pollutants—and it's doing that.
Addressing these challenges in a coordinated way will require nothing short of a complete transformation in the capital stock of energy-producing and -consuming businesses and households across Canada. While cooperation among all sectors of government will be required, the Government of Canada is uniquely situated to provide the leadership on this issue that will be required to meet the challenge in a cost-effective manner, in order to ensure the continued competitiveness of the Canadian economy.
We need to have a healthy economy, but we also need to have action on the environment, and that's what we're seeing now. This transformation will not be achieved through the sum of different and potentially conflicting provincial plans or by setting up rules for industry that vary from one area of the country to another. The government's clean air regulatory agenda, along with other initiatives to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and air pollutants, will provide a nationally consistent approach.
We've recently had the report Turning the Corner—An action plan to reduce greenhouse gases and air pollution. The report was just released. It says:
Climate change is a global problem that requires global solutions. Canadians have long known that serious action is required. Previous Governments set ambitious goals for reducing greenhouse gases, [yet] emissions increased year after year.
Why was that, Chair? Members of the opposition have admitted that when they were government, they really did not have the commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But that's different. Things have changed, and this government is committed to seeing those reductions, but with a realistic plan, a concrete plan that will see those reductions come. They are dramatic, Chair: 20% by 2020 and 60% to 70% by 2050.
Today our greenhouse gas emissions are more than 25% higher than they were in 1990, putting Canada more than 32% above its Kyoto target. That's today. Without immediate action, Canada's greenhouse gas emissions are projected to grow a further 24% by 2020 to reach about 940 megatonnes or 55% above the 1990 levels. That is unacceptable, and that's why we said it is time to turn the corner, and we are turning that corner.
Our government is committed to stopping the increase of Canada's greenhouse gas emissions and dramatically reducing them. I was reading a little out of our Turning the Corner plan. Last April we released the high level framework of our Turning the Corner action plan for reducing emissions. It's a real plan. It's a plan that will achieve the results of absolute reductions in greenhouse gases, a plan that was costed, a plan that will reduce greenhouse gases.
Since then we have consulted with the provinces. We've consulted with environmental groups and industry to develop the details of our plan, which include forcing industry to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. Forcing industry is huge. That's because we've moved from voluntary to mandatory.
Our plan includes setting up a carbon emissions trading market, including a carbon offset system, to provide incentives for Canadians to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We're providing industry with the tools it needs, the tools of a domestic carbon market, and we're also establishing the market price of carbon. We've heard from industry, we've heard from environmental groups, and we've heard from our international partners that these are necessary parts of the plan, and they are now part of a plan.
Our plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions in Canada is a responsible plan. It's a responsible path to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to address the global threat of climate change. The Government of Canada has established the national target of an absolute reduction of 20% of greenhouse gas emissions from the 2006 levels by the year of 2020. That's a reduction of 330 megatonnes from projected levels. That's huge. The previous plan was that emissions were going up and were going to continue to go up. We are now seeing a dramatic reduction of greenhouse gas emissions--330 megatonnes. This is equal to eliminating the combined greenhouse gas emissions of Alberta, Quebec, and Newfoundland and Labrador. It's a huge accomplishment.
With the Turning the Corner plan, the government is taking action and putting into place, for the first time in Canadian history, one of the toughest regulatory regimes in the world to cut greenhouse gases. Our Turning the Corner plan requires reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases by big industry. Greenhouse gas emissions by the industrial sector will be reduced by 165 megatonnes from projected levels by 2020, an amount greater than the combined emissions by the provinces of British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island. Existing facilities in all industrial sectors will face tough requirements to improve their emissions performance every year. Plants that began operating in 2004 will face even tougher requirements to force them to use cleaner fuels and greener technology.
New oil sands plants and coal-fired power plants coming into operation in 2012 or later--those that are now on the drawing board--will face the toughest requirements of all. The oil sands are one of Canada's greatest natural resources and a major engine to our economy, but we have a responsibility to this generation and future generations to ensure that they are developed in an environmentally responsible way. Without additional action today, emissions from the oil sands would grow dramatically in the coming years, and we can't allow that to happen.
The Government of Canada will require that all oil sand plants meet a tough new emission standard. Plants that began operation in 2004 or after will face even tougher standards based on the use of cleaner fuels. Plants starting operations in 2012 will be required to meet the toughest targets that will effectively put action into place for a new carbon capture and storage technology. It's a wonderful new technology.
When I was in Berlin, Germany, for the G8+5 conference--and Chair, you were there with me--it was wonderful to hear that the world is counting on carbon capture and storage. We also know that the biggest carbon capture and storage facility in the world is in Weyburn, Saskatchewan. What they do is this. In North Dakota, about 300 kilometres south, you have a synthetic coal gasification plant where they create natural gas out of gasifying coal, and from that they create electricity. The carbon dioxide from that plant is shipped 300 kilometres north to Weyburn, Saskatchewan, and it's pumped into the ground for enhanced oil recovery. An oil field that wasn't producing anymore now is because of that technology.
The world shared with us in Berlin, and there were some of us in this room who were at that meeting--the chair, I myself, and there was a member from the Bloc, Mr. Cullen was there, and Mr. Godfrey was there. We heard the importance of carbon capture and storage. The world is hoping that approximately 25% of the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions globally will be reduced because of carbon capture and storage.
So it's a very important technology, and who has that technology? Who is the world leader? Canada. That's why we saw, in Indonesia and Bali, one of the people who were down there as part of the Canadian delegation sharing that technology with the world. We are world leaders, and that's why we're requiring the new plants in the oil sands will have to use that technology, where you capture the carbon dioxide and it's pumped back into the ground. It can be stored there, and it has a less than 1% chance of escaping over a 5,000-year period. It's very safe. It solidifies as it's pumped into the ground, and it also can be used for safe storage, but it also can be used for enhanced oil recovery.
It's expensive technology, but that is what the world is counting on, and that's the leadership that Canada is providing. The leadership is requiring that the Canadian oil sands will have to use that.
Also, Canada must reduce emissions from the dirty coal-fired electricity generation--carbon capture and storage again. The new coal plants that are going to be built in Canada have to use carbon capture and storage.
So it's a very good-news story. I'm sure, Chair, it's something that excites you, because you've been aware of it for a number of years, and it's good news for Canada, but it's also good news for the world.
Many Canadians are not aware that in many provinces much of the electricity we use at home and at work is generated by coal-fired power plants. The Government of Canada believes it is simply irresponsible to keep building dirty coal-fired power plants. Coal-fired plants will have to meet a tough new emission standard. We'll also bring in regulations that will effectively end the construction of dirty coal-fired plants starting in 2012. This is all part of our regulatory Turning the Corner plan. Utilities that want to build coal-fired plants in the future will be required to meet targets based on the use of clean technologies such as carbon capture and storage.
These tough regulatory requirements will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the oil sands and electricity sectors by about 90 megatonnes, or 55% of the total expected reductions of the 165 megatonnes from industry, by 2020. This will be challenging for those sectors, but the government is confident they will step up and meet the challenge. It will happen.
All together, our government's industrial regulations will achieve half the reductions required to meet our national target of 20% reduction by 2020. These regulations will change how Canada produces and uses energy and will impose a price on carbon that will rise over time, and they will impact the entire economy. As such, they will provide important new incentives for innovation and new opportunities to develop Canadian green technologies.
Chair, I was at the GLOBE conference two weeks ago. At the trade show, it was wonderful to see what was happening in the technologies here in Canada.
We saw Iogen, a company that creates ethanol from waste product, from straw. They break it down using an enzyme to create alcohol, and it's 100% alcohol. It's like a big still. They mix gasoline with the alcohol to create ethanol, and it's called E85. Minister Baird arrived at the GLOBE conference in an E85-powered vehicle.
When I fuel up, there are gas stations already in British Columbia where you can buy ethanol. It's rated up to 10%.
But this is where the government, through a mandatory regulation--no longer voluntary--is moving forward with cleaner fuels and cleaner technology. In the end, we end up with absolute reductions of 20% by 2020. And we set a good example. We also end up with cleaner air for healthier Canadians.
The Government of Canada is taking further action that will cut greenhouse gas emissions from transportation and from buildings. These actions include mandatory renewable fuel content in gasoline, diesel, and heating oils. A moment ago, I mentioned what we saw at the GLOBE conference. It was very interesting.
For the first time in Canadian history we will have tough new fuel consumption standards for cars, light trucks, and sport utility vehicles. These are some of the toughest targets in the world and definitely in Canadian history. The vehicles--cars, light trucks, and sport utility vehicles--will have to burn less fuel and become more energy efficient.
New energy efficiency requirements for a wide range of commercial and consumer products such as dishwashers and commercial boilers and new national performance standards that'll ban inefficient incandescent light bulbs are actions the government is requiring with our Turning the Corner plan.
But we can already do that. We already have that technology and we are moving forward. These are minimum standards--20% reduction by 2020--but Canadians can already start doing that.
Chair, I've had the great pleasure of buying new fluorescent-type light bulbs as replacements and I've seen my electricity bill drop significantly. It's a nice light, and you can get different types of fluorescent lighting, all using much less energy. Instead of a 60-watt bulb, it's an 11-watt bulb. If you replace all the bulbs in your house, all of a sudden you're saving a lot of electricity. But there is different lighting. Some of the bulbs have a soft glow and some are very bright.
We are implementing ways of reducing our carbon footprint and cleaning up the environment.
Our government has also launched a broad suite of ecoACTION programs that will complement our regulatory initiatives and stimulate the growth of renewable energy and fuels: energy-efficient homes and buildings, fuel-efficient cars and trucks, and increased public infrastructure.
The Chair Bob Mills
Mr. Warawa, could I interrupt you for a minute to advise everyone, as I said I would at 5:25. Obviously we're not going to complete the bill, so I will be suspending and asking everyone to return immediately after the vote, and we'll carry on.
The bells will begin. We will suspend at that point and we'll return here right afterwards and carry on.
Mr. Warawa, the floor is yours.
Mark Warawa Langley, BC
So we believe that the federal initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions—making our cars, our homes, and our industries much more efficient in their energy use—can achieve greenhouse gas reductions of 65 megatonnes from projected levels by 2020, equivalent to taking more than 16 million cars off the road, or eliminating the combined emissions of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Manitoba. So these are very large numbers.
These tough federal regulatory and other actions are expected to result in greenhouse gas reductions of 230 megatonnes from projected levels by 2020. That is a huge number, Chair. Yet even with these tough new federal regulations and the promises of some provinces to close dirty coal-fired power plants and to increase their use of renewable and nuclear energy, the emissions from electricity generation are projected to be 90 megatonnes in 2020—still the single largest source of greenhouse gases in Canada.
The Government of Canada wants to achieve additional emission reductions from the electricity sector of 25 megatonnes by 2020—and that's in only 12 years from 2008. So in this very short period of time, there will be an additional 25 megatonnes in reductions from the electricity sector, equivalent to closing seven large coal-fired power plants. We're therefore setting up a clean electricity task force to work with the provinces and industry to meet this goal. If required, the Government of Canada is ready to use its regulatory powers to ensure that these cuts are achieved.
Provincial governments are already committed to targets that would require achieving greenhouse gas reductions of as much as 300 megatonnes by 2020. Over 200 provincial initiatives have been developed to date to begin achieving those great goals. While some of these initiatives overlap with federal actions, it is estimated they will provide an incremental 40 megatonnes in emission reductions by 2020. Most provinces have indicated they're planning to do even more to meet their own targets.
The Government of Canada has provided over $1.5 billion in new funding to the provinces and the territories to support their climate change initiatives. That's good news. I want to thank the Liberal members for supporting that. Unfortunately, the Bloc and the NDP voted against that $1.5 billion in initiatives to fight climate change.
We're convinced it's realistic and achievable for provinces and territories to take further action in the areas where they have important responsibilities, such as building standards, public transit, and urban planning. This is very important: public transit will not be successful if you do not have well-planned, sustainable communities.
We expect that the provinces will introduce new measures that will result, at minimum, in an additional 35 megatonnes of reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. These will enable Canada not only to meet but, potentially, also to surpass its national target of a 20% absolute reduction in emissions from 2006 levels by 2020.
Canada will play an important role in negotiations to develop a new international agreement on climate change, with contributions from all the major emitters, including the United States and China and India. We should be seeking to ensure that global emissions are cut at least in half by 2050. The Government of Canada has committed to achieving a 60% to 70% reduction in Canada's emissions by 2050.
At home, we will stop the dramatic growth in our greenhouse gas emissions and cut them by 20%, in absolute terms, between now and 2020, as I pointed out, which is only 12 years away. This will require all of us to do our part: the federal, provincial, and territorial governments; municipalities; industry; and individual Canadians. Together we can meet our target. In doing so, we as a country will put in place large-scale carbon capture and storage and other existing technologies; we'll generate 90% of our power from sources that do not emit greenhouse gases; and we'll increase electricity from renewable sources, like wind and wave power, by 20 times. These are examples of this government actually getting it done. We'll cut greenhouse gas emissions from coal by more than 50%. We'll increase average fuel efficiency in new vehicles by 20%. We'll improve Canada's energy efficiency by 20%. That's our national energy efficiency.
These and other actions will change the path of Canada's greenhouse gas emissions. Canada will move from rapid growth to achieving absolute reductions of 20%, based in 2006 levels, and a reduction of 330 megatonnes from projected levels in 2020.
The challenge to meet these targets by 2020 is great. It's a big challenge. However, the Government of Canada believes in the commitment, ingenuity, and willingness of Canadians to tackle the challenge of climate change while continuing to grow our economy. Together we are ready to face the challenge and to win.
Chair, we need to win. We need to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases that each of us is responsible for. There are lots of opportunities and lots of ways to find out how we can reduce our carbon footprint. And it's fun to do. As I mentioned earlier, I replaced all my light bulbs, but I also bought a new hot water tank and found out that the new hot water tank was a lot more efficient. Also, when I leave the Hill, I turn my hot water tank off. Why heat water when we're not here? So I've done that. At home, I've reduced the temperature of the hot water tank. I have a new efficient hot water tank and efficient light bulbs.
What's also good is that I'm not the only one doing it and that it's fun; we have a lot of Canadians doing it. With more and more energy-efficient light bulbs available, the prices have come down. And we have a way of disposing of the light bulbs, because you don't want to just take the fluorescent bulbs and dispose of them in the regular garbage. You want to bring them back to where you got them. They will collect them and dispose of them in a safe manner, because the fluorescent bulbs have mercury, and you do not want to just throw them away and have them break and release the mercury.
That brings up another point, Chair. The government is very concerned about the mercury content in our environment. That's why we have a new program requiring vehicles that are scrapped to have the switches taken out of them to capture that mercury. We do not want it released into the atmosphere. The days of using our atmosphere as a dumping ground for greenhouse gas emissions, for mercury, and for pollutants are over. This government is very serious about reducing the amount of greenhouse gases we're putting into the air.
Our regulations will have real, tangible health and environmental benefits for Canadians. These benefits, in turn, will have positive economic effects. A robust regulatory system will also promote technological investment and innovation in Canada, yielding long-term economic benefits from enhanced productivity, improved energy efficiency, greater competitiveness, and more importantly, the ability to sell Canadian products and know-how abroad.
When I was at that global conference, it wasn't just Iogen that I saw there. I saw energy-efficient vehicles. I saw solar technology. I saw a technology for operating rooms. The gases coming from the anesthetics that are provided in operating theatres have 12,000 times the impact of carbon dioxide, so capturing those gases and having them brought down and managed in a safe manner is very good for the environment: 12,000 times carbon dioxide from the operating theatres.
Instead of having methane, which is a natural gas but is 21 times stronger than carbon dioxide, you capture that from landfills, from animal waste, and just by flaring it, it becomes carbon dioxide, but you can capture that and use that as a commodity to run vehicles. It provides a balance within our system. Instead of pulling more fuels from below the earth, we recycle what we already have above the earth. It provides that technology not only for Canadians but for the world.
We saw that at the trade show. It was exciting that a lot of that technology is happening right here in Canada. We're sharing that with the world too.
We also saw Iogen. As well, we saw other waste products, cellulose waste, trees. They can take trees, or waste product from trees, and make fuel from it too, which I think is a better way than taking food stock. We use cellulose technology to create the ethanol, and you can then run your cars and vehicles in a much more environmentally friendly way.
Each of us needs to do our part, but a lot of the world-leading technology is right here in Canada. It's very exciting.
Strong regulations will inevitably come at a cost, and those costs will be borne, at least in part, by every individual Canadian and his or her family. Consumer products, including cars and home appliances, could become more expensive. Electricity and fuel prices will rise. All Canadians must be prepared to bear this extra responsibility in order to get the job done. This government is committed to doing that, and I know Canadians are too.
In implementing the clean air regulatory agenda, the government will work with provincial and territorial governments, industry, environmental health groups, scientists, municipalities and communities, and individual Canadians. These partnerships will ensure that all segments of Canadian society have the opportunity to reduce their emissions and achieve a cleaner, healthier Canada for current and future generations—other examples of this government setting the example and getting it done.
As a side note, we have now hydrogen-powered buses on the Hill. The typical bus that we see running around on Parliament Hill is a green bus, and there are some white buses for the Senate. But we also now have hydrogen-powered buses. They're burning hydrogen, and the only thing coming out of the exhaust pipe is water. It's very exciting, another example of Canadian technology.
The government is also taking other action. In the last Speech from the Throne, the government committed to take measures to achieve—
The Chair Bob Mills
Mr. Bigras, on a point of order.
Bernard Bigras Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC
Mr. Chairman, for the committee's benefit, can you tell me which document the parliamentary secretary is alluding to?