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.