POLITICS

Catherine McKenna: Canada Won't Announce Reduction Targets At Climate Summit

11/13/2015 12:17 EST | Updated 11/13/2015 12:59 EST
CP

OTTAWA — No one should expect Canada to announce greenhouse gas emission reduction targets at a Paris summit later this month, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said Friday after meeting with the mayor of Ottawa.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is scheduled to attend the COP21 international climate summit, and has invited the premiers to join him.

And while Canada hopes to reach a framework agreement with other nations at the gathering, McKenna said the actual targets for reducing emissions that cause climate change won't be set until months later, when federal, provincial and territorial leaders sit down to figure out what can reasonably be accomplished, and how the goals can be met.

"We'll be looking at how Canada can do its part, post-COP21," she said.

"We have committed to having a (federal-provincial-territorial) meeting 90 days afterwards, where we'll really sit down and do the hard work of figuring out what is a realistic target and how are we actually going to take actions to achieve it."

The minister made the comments after a meeting with Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson, where they spoke about possible investments in so-called green infrastructure as part of a plan for reducing emissions.

The prime minister has asked provincial and territorial leaders to join him Nov. 23 to discuss Canada's climate change plans prior to attending the UN-sponsored summit, which begins a week later.

Meanwhile, at least one international observer was also playing down the expected outcomes of the environmental summit.

Simon Upton, the environmental director of the Organization for Economic Development and Co-operation (OECD), told a news conference in Paris that the COP21 will not be structured as an international binding agreement.

The logic of the Paris framework is a "bottom up" approach, going right down to lower levels of government such as municipalities, states and provinces.

"That's where the enforcement's going to be," said Upton. "Let's be realistic. This is a 'bottom up' process. It's going to rely on countries actually doing what they say they do. And if it's a transparent process, we'll be able to see if they do or don't."

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