OTTAWA (Reuters) - The Canadian government, criticized by environmentalists for saying its Kyoto target on greenhouse gases is unreachable, said on Saturday it would nonetheless move substantially toward that goal.
Environment Minister John Baird, speaking from a meeting in Germany of the Group of Eight leading industrialized nations, also said any extension of the Kyoto protocol beyond 2012 must include the United States and other big developing nations.
“We very clearly said that any future global deal must include the United States, China and India,” he said in a conference call with reporters after meeting his G8 counterparts.
“The developing nations obviously have a concern that they’re going to be asked to carry an unfair burden, and I certainly led off (in the G8 talks) with the view that Canada has to provide leadership by example.”
Baird said that by the end of March he would be announcing mandatory regulations setting targets for Canadian industries.
Canada had committed to cutting its emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, widely blamed for global warming, to 6 percent below 1990 levels but as of 2004 they were 27 percent above 1990.
“We’re going to be coming forward with some efforts to move considerably toward that goal,” Baird said.
Baird is part of the minority Conservative government that was elected in January 2006. He said the previous Liberal government had done little in its more than 12 years to meet Canada’s commitment.
Liberal leader Stephane Dion unveiled a plan on Friday which would require three major sectors — crude oil and gas, electricity generation, and energy-intensive industries — to cut to Kyoto levels or pay billions of dollars in penalties.
Baird said Dion’s plan looked “just like a money grab, with very little pressure or focus on actual emissions reductions.”
The oil and gas industry would be required to cut their emissions by 46 percent from what they are projected to hit by 2010. Baird said there was no way that the industries would be able to reduce actual emissions to the requirements Dion set out in time.