11/09/2015 03:36 EST | Updated 11/09/2015 03:59 EST

Catherine McKenna: Tories' Emissions Target Will Be 'Floor' For Future Action

The new environment minister has tried to avoid any talk of target numbers.


OTTAWA — Canada's new environment minister says the national target set by the Conservatives for cutting greenhouse gas emissions should be considered a floor for future action.

Catherine McKenna is in Paris, where she's taking parting part in ministerial meetings in advance of the COP21 international climate conference that begins at the end of the month.

The Liberals have refused to set a target for cutting emissions, saying the federal government first needs a credible plan for tackling climate change in concert with the provinces.

The previous Harper government announced in May that Canada's national contribution for the Paris conference would be a 30 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 2005 levels by the year 2030.

McKenna has tried to avoid any talk of target numbers but said in a call with reporters today that the 30 per cent cut by 2030 will be the floor, although the Liberals want to try to do better.

Canadian governments — Liberal and Conservative alike — have previously agreed to international carbon cuts, but failed to implement policies to make those cuts a reality and McKenna won't say now whether there remains any hope for Canada to meet its current 2020 target under the Copenhagen accord.

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