TORONTO - The federal government is failing to take the lead on climate change while the provinces are trying to tackle the issue with a patchwork of individual plans.
That's the analysis emerging from a report released by the David Suzuki Foundation Wednesday called "All Over the Map 2012."
The document ranks the country's provinces and territories on their climate change policies and makes recommendations for improvement.
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Here's a look at the best and worst climate change policies in Canada, as ranked by the David Sazuki Foundation. All info comes from the report "All Over The Map 2012." (CP)
"Quebec is still leading the field in many areas, including being the first province to enact a modest cap-and-trade system on industrial GHG emissions, although its commitment to expanding oil and gas exploration and road and highway building threaten progress and its standing." (Alamy)
"Ontario's pioneering Green Energy Act is already reaping environmental and economic benefits for the province and could serve as a blueprint for other jurisdictions" (GEOFF ROBINS/AFP/Getty Images)
"Top-ranked in 2008, B.C., although it leads the country on pricing carbon pollution, has lost momentum and stalled on implementing measures to ensure it meets its 2020 reduction target with the threat of shale gas and the potential development of a gas-powered LNG terminal that could undermine the province's leadership." (PUNIT PARANJPE/AFP/Getty Images)
"Although concerns remain about past failures, Nova Scotia has taken important steps, including a hard cap to reduce GHG emissions from the power sector." (Tim BREAKMEIE/AFP/Getty Images)
With emissions already below 1990 levels, P.E.I. has made strong commitments to increasing both energy efficiency and renewable energy. (MICHEL VIATTEAU/AFP/Getty Images)
"Although Manitoba has shown some leadership on energy efficiency, there have been too many broken promises and half (if any) measures to reduce emissions from major sources." (Flickr: Jezz's Photostream
"Progress has stalled in New Brunswick with a change of provincial government. It remains to be seen whether the new government will continue to stall, go forward or go backward." (Luke Pinneo/Getty Images)
"The government of the Northwest Territories still relies more on subsidies than regulations, but it has made a commitment to increasing renewable energy and is considering a carbon tax." (Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
"Although the government of Newfoundland and Labrador has, more so than many jurisdictions, led by example in tackling its own emissions, its long-awaited updated action plans detail no concrete steps to tackle and reduce emissions from major sources." (Flickr: magnolia1000)
"The territory of Nunavut still has no GHG reduction targets and has failed to include promising measures in official strategies." (Flickr: courosa)
"Despite an admirable goal for government of Yukon operations to be carbon neutral by 2020, there are no territory-wide GHG reduction targets or plans to tackle emissions from industry." (Flickr: Andrewsaurusrex)
"Alberta's commitment to heavily polluting, damaging and unsustainable fossil fuel industries continues unabated with a recent analysis showing the province is only on track to achieve one third of its pollution-reduction target for 2020." (MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
"It is difficult to imagine any jurisdiction taking the threats of climate change less seriously than Saskatchewan currently does." (Flickr: Just a Prairie Boy's photostream)
Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia topped the list with "very good" policies which prioritized clean energy while Alberta and Saskatchewan were ranked the "worst."
"The report shows stronger leadership from the provinces is crucial given the lack of effort by the federal government on reducing global warming emissions," said Ian Bruce, a climate change and clean energy specialist with the foundation.
"The provinces have proven that not only can we make progress but we can actually improve our quality of life."
Bruce added that Canada could be a world leader if the federal government was an active collaborator in the fight against climate change.
"The federal government has been focusing more on exploitation of fossil fuels and has really missed out on opportunities to invest in cleaner, more innovative energy sources," he said.
The report was released as federal Environment Minister Peter Kent announced a new greenhouse-gas report showing emissions remained stable in 2010 even as the economy grew, suggesting the rebound from recession didn't come at the expense of the environment.
"We work very closely with the provinces and the territories," Kent said when asked to respond to criticism about the federal government not collaborating enough with the provinces on climate change.
"We work in the jurisdiction where we have authority, like the transportation sector, the auto industry."
The Suzuki Foundation, however, said the jurisdiction argument is moot as all major sources of emissions can be addressed through both federal and provincial policies.
Its report pointed out that provinces are responsible for natural resource management, electricity sectors and building codes while the federal government can regulate pollution and greenhouse gases which are considered toxic.
"What Canada needs is a full suite of policies to tackle all sources of greenhouse gases," the document said. "Technologies already exist to dramatically cut emissions. We understand which policies work. The only missing ingredient is political leadership."
While evaluating the provinces, the report cited Ontario's "pioneering" Green Energy Act as a key reason for its high ranking, saying the legislation had already brought about environmental and economic benefits and could serve as a blueprint for other jurisdictions.
British Columbia actually saw its position drop from being the "best" province in 2008 to a "very good" ranking. The report said the province still leads the country on pricing carbon pollution but has "lost momentum and stalled" on measures to ensure it meets its 2020 reduction target. The report points to shale gas and the potential development of a gas-powered plant as elements which would undermine B.C.'s position.
Quebec, meanwhile, was identified as another leader in climate change, but the report said the province's commitment to expanding oil and gas exploration, as well as road and highway building, threaten its progress.
On the other end of the spectrum, Alberta's negative ranking came as a result of its continuing commitment to polluting fossil fuel industries, the report said. It predicts the province is only likely to achieve one third of its pollution reduction target for 2020.
Saskatchewan, which was coupled with Alberta as the "worst" provinces on climate change, was classified by the report as a jurisdiction which simply didn't take the issue seriously.
The report also outlined two concerning trends— the rush to exploit oil and gas resources as quickly as possible, and a lack of progress on reversing emissions from road transportation.
The foundation is hoping its report will encourage provinces to share successful policies and learn from each other's mistakes.
"We hope that this will encourage a race to the top when it comes to showing leadership on climate change in Canada," said Bruce.