Federal Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson announces funding for climate action at the University of Calgary in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019. The federal government says it is narrowing the gap between the greenhouse gas emissions reductions it is projecting and what it promised to achieve under the Paris Agreement. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Federal report says Canadians ‘doubtful’ on hitting emissions targets

A key measure the Liberals have touted in their plan is the federal carbon price

The federal government was told just before the fall election campaign that many Canadians didn’t believe the country will meet targets for reducing its greenhouse-gas emissions.

Public-opinion research conducted on behalf of the Privy Council Office showed that most participants in the spring survey were “doubtful” Canada would reach its targets, with the rest “uncertain, or hopeful but not optimistic.”

Among the reasons people gave for believing Canada would fall short were the cost to the economy to do so, including job losses in sectors like oil and gas, and “political will.”

Under the Paris climate-change agreement, the Trudeau Liberals agreed to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions to a level 30 per cent below what they were in 2005 and to do it by 2030.

The polling report delivered in mid-August and made public in recent days suggested that participants wanted the government to at least try to meet the 2030 target even if efforts were doomed.

Last week, the Liberals said Canada’s emissions are forecast to be 227 million tonnes below what was projected in 2015, which would be 77 million tonnes short of the target Canada committed to under the Paris pact.

During the federal election campaign, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau vowed to boost efforts so Canada would exceed its 2030 goal and then achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Among the measures the Liberals proposed was funding the planting of two billion trees, cutting energy waste and supporting zero-emissions clean tech companies — none of which were included in the updated forecasts released on the Friday before Christmas.

A key measure the Liberals have touted in their plan is the federal carbon price. Participants in the survey said they believed that the Liberals’ carbon tax had increased the cost of gas, food and home heating, and will eventually drive up costs for travel, public transit and consumer goods transported over long distances.

The Liberals say the carbon tax is designed to change habits so individuals reduce their own carbon footprints, and the report suggests this is happening to an extent.

Some participants told interviews they have opted to drive more fuel-efficient vehicles, be more strategic in running errands to limit car use, opt for public transit more or work more often from home. Others told interviewers they expect to drive less eventually, while the remainder said “they have no option but to drive as much as they do.”

Any funding collected through the carbon tax is returned through rebates at tax time, but most participants in the research believed they would receive less than what they paid.

That belief didn’t change when interviewers presented them with a parliamentary budget office report saying 80 per cent of tax filers will receive more in rebates than they pay in carbon fees.

READ MORE: Report lumps in Canada with climate change offenders as Madrid conference gets underway

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Public engagement on North Cowichan forest reserve begins this month

Consulting firm presents engagement plan at North Cowichan council meeting

Students evacuate safely after Thursday morning fire at Chemainus Secondary School

Numerous firefighters on the scene several hours, students sent home for the day

Mary Lowther column: Attracting beneficial insects to the garden

If we’re lucky, our own oases of pesticide-free gardens and farms will continue to buzz

Snag hit in Lake Cowichan’s A.B. Greenwell property transfer

“We ran into a brick wall,” confirmed Lake Cowichan chief administrative officer Joe Fernandez.

Business notes: Duncan’s Sands Funeral Chapel in the pink for Pink Shirt Day

Staff at Sands Funeral Chapel are wearing pink to demonstrate how important the anti-bullying day is

Blair says RCMP have met Wet’suwet’en conditions, calls for end to blockades

The Wet’suwet’en’s hereditary chiefs oppose the Coastal GasLink project

Exclusive: Pamela Anderson talks plans for waterfront Ladysmith property after 12-day marriage

Anderson says she can pay her own bills. Peters denies making comments suggesting she can’t

Burger King breaks the mould with new advertising campaign

The company is known for irreverent ad campaigns

Maggie and Tim: B.C. residential school survivor turns to faith, forgiveness in mourning son

A young man’s tragic death and his mother’s survival through hardship

PHOTOS: RCMP call on kids to name latest police puppy recruits

This year’s theme is the letter ‘N,’ and 13 German shephards must be named

B.C., federal ministers plead for meeting Wet’suwet’en dissidents

Scott Fraser, Carolyn Bennett standing by to return to Smithers

B.C. mom’s complaint about ‘R word’ in children’s ministry email sparks review

In 2020, the ‘R’ word shouldn’t be used, Sue Robins says

Federal minister pledges to meet Wet’suwet’en chiefs in B.C. over natural gas pipeline

The Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say they are visiting Mohawk territory

Most Read