Paris Climate Accord and Canada’s actions
The Paris Climate Accord, also known as the “Paris Agreement” is an international effort “to tackle climate change and its negative impacts.” On December 12, 2015, at a UN climate change conference, world leaders came together to create this agreement. This agreement is legally binding and includes almost 200 countries. Over the course of five years, there is an action plan for climate change. Every five years these goals are updated. Every country involved in the Paris Agreement has taken different paths to take action against climate change.
Canada has a goal to reduce their carbon emissions 40-45% lower than the 2005 emission level by 2030. To do this, the country has implemented a carbon pollution pricing system. The federal government left how severe the pricing would be up to the provincial governments. Another way Canada is reducing their carbon emissions is by investing in eco-friendly means of travel and energy production. Canada is investing $28.7 billion into public transit, $26.9 billion into green infrastructure, and over $500 million to organizations to generate clean growth. Canada has also followed the lead of other countries to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. Net-zero emissions means that the country will either produce no greenhouse gasses, or they will offset the emissions enough. Despite the billions being invested into greener initiatives, little change has actually been made.
At this moment in time, Canada is making slow progress to their goals. Despite the nation as a whole having set goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, seven out of twelve provincial governments did not have a set target. Out of the five remaining governments, only New Brunswick and Nova Scotia were on track to reach the overall target they set. Initially, Canada had set on reducing carbon emissions by 2020. However, when that goal was greatly missed, they shifted their focus to reducing carbon emissions by 2030.
On a positive note, Canada made waves by implementing a single-use plastic ban nationwide. Six different categories of single-use plastics were banned, such as foodservice ware, checkout bags and cutlery. In this ban, the manufacturing, importing and sale of these items are no longer allowed. This ban is not immediate. In December of 2022, foodservice ware, cutlery, checkout bags, stir sticks and straws were no longer allowed to be manufactured and imported in Canada. By December of 2023, these items will no longer be sold. And in December 2025, Canada will no longer be able to export these items.
There is still hope for Canada to start reaching its goals. In the next seven years if each province and territory step up to the plate and take strides to lower their greenhouse emissions, the initial goal of the Paris Climate Accord won’t seem so far out of reach.
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