Canada's 2050 Climate Plan: Report Says 'Magnitude' Of Challenge May Not Be Realized

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OTTAWA — The federal government has released its long-term climate strategy with a caution that most Canadians — while sympathetic to the cause — don't yet understand the "magnitude of the challenge."

The document suggests the country should find a way to cut emissions 80 per cent below 2005 levels by 2050 in order to match the ambition of the international Paris climate accord.

catherine mckenna
Environment Minister Catherine McKenna speaks in Calgary on Nov. 2, 2016. (Photo: Jeff McIntosh/CP)

Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna was among those last year in Paris helping push for a target of limiting global warming to less than two degrees C above pre-industrial levels, and closer to 1.5 degrees.

The government strategy paper released this week in Marrakech, Morocco, during a follow-up summit to the Paris agreement says Canada will require very deep emissions cuts from every sector by mid-century.

The 87-page document does not specifically profile Canada's oil and gas sector, nor does it mention the current political debate over approval of new, long-term fossil fuel infrastructure, including pipelines.

Trump changes things

But the strategy says that a switch from fossil fuels to electricity and renewable fuels is a "cross-cutting theme of all scenarios presented."

It also notes that Canada worked closely with the United States and Mexico on the long-term strategy document — without noting the dramatically changed American political landscape in the wake of president-elect Donald Trump's election victory.

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