Canada’s Liberal government, whose goal of cutting carbon emissions is running into opposition from the country’s vital energy industry, plans to aim for still deeper reductions, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday.
Trudeau has already committed Canada to reducing emissions by between 40% and 45% below 2005 levels by 2030. The country’s independent budgetary watchdog says this will be a challenge, given the speed and scale of changes needed.
Trudeau made his remarks to reporters after outlining Canada’s plans to the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow.
“I look forward to presenting even more ambitious targets in the future. But we will ensure that before we set new targets we are able to achieve the ambitious targets that we’ve just set out here,” he said.
Polls consistently show the environment is among Canadians’ top concerns and Trudeau has made climate change a priority since taking power in 2015.
After failing to win a parliamentary majority in a September election, Liberal officials said some progressive voters had been disappointed in the government’s green record.
Yet energy producers and their political allies in the province of Alberta have complained that they view the existing targets as too ambitious. Canada is also the world’s fourth-largest oil producer.
In September Trudeau pledged to immediately cap emissions from the oil and gas sector, which is responsible for 26% of national emissions, and require lower emissions in five-year intervals, starting in 2025.
Trudeau also said he was confident the world could limit the rise in temperature to 1.5 C above pre-industrial levels and avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
“One of the things we recognize is that we’re going to need to be continuing to push our levels of ambition… pushing on the development of new solutions, of technologies, of new ways of growing our economy,” he told reporters in Glasgow.
“These are the things we need to do. So yes, I am confident we’re going to be able to stay on that track to 1.5 (degrees).”