Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the hon. member for Wild Rose.
I am pleased to rise today to speak to the important issue of climate change. Our government supports an approach to climate change that gives real environmental and economic benefits for all Canadians. Given the highly integrated nature of the North American economy, this includes aligning our climate policies with those of the United States.
That is why, as part of the Cancun agreements, this government agreed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 17% below 2005 levels by 2020, an ambitious but very realistic target that is completely aligned with that of the United States. We have made significant progress through many national regulatory initiatives on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
In addition, the federal government recognizes the importance of integrating air pollutant regulations with those affecting greenhouse gases.
We will work to ensure coherence between greenhouse gas measures and air pollutant measures under the proposed national air quality management system.
Looking at industries, we have started with transportation and electricity, the two largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada, and we will continue to proceed to address emissions from other major emitting sectors one by one.
With regard to transportation, Canada worked closely with the United States government to establish a North American common standard to regulate greenhouse gas emissions by vehicles. This approach will help the environment, the industry and consumers.
In October 2010, we implemented rigorous new regulations to limit greenhouse gas emissions in the automobile sector through the Passenger Automobile and Light Truck Greenhouse Gas Emission Regulations.
Later that month, we issued a notice of intent to continue working closely with the U.S. toward a development of more stringent standards for model years 2017 and beyond. We continue to work with the U.S. on the development of these regulations.
In August 2011, we announced further measures on vehicles, indicating that we would develop regulations to limit greenhouse gas emissions from heavy-duty vehicles.
Canada and the United States are taking a common North American approach and Canada intends to implement regulations with a 2014 model year in alignment, once again, with those of the United States, which is an integrated partner when it comes to the automobile and transportation sector.
Implementing measures in the electricity industry will lead to significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and will improve air quality for all Canadians. In August 2011, we also published regulations for the electricity industry, which will apply a stringent performance standard to new power plants using coal and to those that are nearing the end of their useful life.
The proposed regulations, in addition to commitments of the provinces and companies that have committed to coal plant closures as well as other measures to reduce emissions, amount to a reduction of 32 megatons below 2005 levels by 2020. That is a reduction of 26% from the electricity generation sector. That is the value of made in Canada, industry by industry regulations.
New coal-fired electricity units will have to meet stringent performance standards. That performance standard, as proposed, is 375 tonnes per gigawatt hour. It seems like a large number but that is a standard that is based on emissions of high efficiency, natural gas generation, and that represents a reduction of 60% for a unit of electricity produced.
The final regulations are expected to be published in 2012, working with the sector, and regulations are scheduled to come into effect in July 2015.
Over the past year, we have also made significant progress by implementing key components of our renewable fuels strategy. Since December 2010, gasoline must contain an average of 5% renewable fuel. Another measure, which took effect in July 2010, was the implementation of a requirement that diesel fuel contain 2% renewable fuel. These federal measures, combined with those implemented by the provinces, have made it possible for us to come a quarter of the way toward meeting our objective for 2020.
In fact, a report released in November 2011 by the International Institute for Sustainable Development, or IISD, highlights the significant progress that is being made in Canada on GHG emissions and confirms that the government's regulatory approach is delivering results and contributing to a national effort to reduce emissions toward Canada's 2020 target. It states, “Canada is finally establishing the policy architecture to reduce greenhouse gas emissions”. Its analysis supports the core directions of the government's approach and demonstrates that sector by sector regulations are already delivering results, an important part of the national plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
To bridge the final gaps, the Government of Canada will develop and implement additional measures to reduce greenhouse gases in other important sectors of the national economy. These will be complemented by additional measures implemented by the provinces and territories in areas within their jurisdiction.
Work is in progress to develop regulatory performance standards in priority industries.
We are also looking to focus additional effort on short-lived climate forcers, such as black carbon, which will make our plan to address climate change even more comprehensive. There is increasing awareness that action on this front will yield near-term climate benefits, particularly in the Arctic and other parts of northern Canada.
I should make a comment on the previous Liberal government's Kyoto plan. It was Eddie Goldenberg, one of former prime minister Jean Chrétien's top aides, who revealed that the Liberals went ahead with the Kyoto protocol on climate change even though they knew there was a good chance that Canada would not meet its goals for pollution reduction. In a speech delivered to the Canadian Club of London, Ontario, he said:
Nor was the government itself even ready at the time with what had to be done. The Kyoto targets were extremely ambitious and it was very possible that short term deadlines would, at the end of the day, have to be extended.
That was said in 2007. It is clear that we have put forward some realistic, actionable plans to reduce greenhouse gases, working with the provinces and with various industries, and we are achieving results. The Government of Canada has a plan to reduce emissions further and that plan is working. We will continue reducing emissions sector by sector until we have reached our goal.