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Ottawa, Mar 28 (Canadian-Media): The joint audit, conducted by federal Environment Commissioner Julie Gelfand and auditors general in nine provinces, reported that Canada's climate goals and emissions targets were unlikely to be met, media reports said.
The audit report considered climate change planning and emissions reduction progress between November 2016 and March 2018 and reported that Canada lacked clarity and consistency in its work on climate change and reportedly will require a concerted effort across all levels of government and that the country's work is far from being done.
According to a new audit released Tuesday, assessments to adapt to the risks posed by climate change by Ottawa and other provinces had been haphazard, inconsistent and lacking in detail, with no timeline for action and no funding.
'We are absolutely committed to [2030 target],' says federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna and added that while many governments have high-level goals to cut emissions, few have detailed plans to actually reach those goals, such as timelines, funding or expected results from specific actions.
Catherine McKenna. Image credit: Official
Canada was nearly 200 million tonnes short of that goal in of 2015 when full statistics was reportedly available.
This is reportedly equivalent of the emissions produced by about 44 million cars each year, twice the number of vehicles registered in Canada.
McKenna recognized the latest review of Canada's climate change policies as an important recognition of climate change's priority in government business.
But she said the audit, as Gelfand herself noted did not actually take into account the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change which was released only in December 2016 after the audit's scope was already established and falls short of reaching the 2030 goals.
Catherine Abreu, executive director of the Climate Action Network also said this audit looked at what progress was made to meet Canada's existing targets to bring emissions 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020.
McKenna said the plan addresses many of the concerns in the audit, outlining how certain policies will achieve specific emissions cuts.
"The previous government did nothing for a decade but we're 100 per cent committed to our target," McKenna said. "Hard things are hard. We have a plan and we're already seeing measurable results."
The pan-Canadian framework reportedly required every province to put a price on pollution by the start of next year.
The four biggest provinces already have one. Manitoba will add a $25-a-tonne carbon tax in September and every other province will either have to establish their own price or have a federal price imposed as of next Jan. 1.
Although Ontario and Alberta both have a carbon price plan in place, but they fear that coming provincial elections could bring to power premiers who would probably put an end to carbon pricing.
Saskatchewan, who has not joined the framework, reportedly had said it will sue if the federal government tries to impose a carbon price.
McKenna said the clean technology sector is developing in response to climate change and is creating an enormous economic opportunity and if action on climate change was not taken, it would reportedly cost the government a lot of money later on.
"It is disappointing when you have politicians pretending that there is no cost to climate change," she said. "Right now the cost to the federal government is in the billions of dollars to deal with the impacts of climate change, whether it's floods, whether it's forest fires, a melting Arctic. We need to be taking action."
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)