Federal Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson announces funding for climate action at the University of Calgary in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019. The federal government says it is narrowing the gap between the greenhouse gas emissions reductions it is projecting and what it promised to achieve under the Paris Agreement. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Federal report says Canadians ‘doubtful’ on hitting emissions targets

A key measure the Liberals have touted in their plan is the federal carbon price

The federal government was told just before the fall election campaign that many Canadians didn’t believe the country will meet targets for reducing its greenhouse-gas emissions.

Public-opinion research conducted on behalf of the Privy Council Office showed that most participants in the spring survey were “doubtful” Canada would reach its targets, with the rest “uncertain, or hopeful but not optimistic.”

Among the reasons people gave for believing Canada would fall short were the cost to the economy to do so, including job losses in sectors like oil and gas, and “political will.”

Under the Paris climate-change agreement, the Trudeau Liberals agreed to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions to a level 30 per cent below what they were in 2005 and to do it by 2030.

The polling report delivered in mid-August and made public in recent days suggested that participants wanted the government to at least try to meet the 2030 target even if efforts were doomed.

Last week, the Liberals said Canada’s emissions are forecast to be 227 million tonnes below what was projected in 2015, which would be 77 million tonnes short of the target Canada committed to under the Paris pact.

During the federal election campaign, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau vowed to boost efforts so Canada would exceed its 2030 goal and then achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Among the measures the Liberals proposed was funding the planting of two billion trees, cutting energy waste and supporting zero-emissions clean tech companies — none of which were included in the updated forecasts released on the Friday before Christmas.

A key measure the Liberals have touted in their plan is the federal carbon price. Participants in the survey said they believed that the Liberals’ carbon tax had increased the cost of gas, food and home heating, and will eventually drive up costs for travel, public transit and consumer goods transported over long distances.

The Liberals say the carbon tax is designed to change habits so individuals reduce their own carbon footprints, and the report suggests this is happening to an extent.

Some participants told interviews they have opted to drive more fuel-efficient vehicles, be more strategic in running errands to limit car use, opt for public transit more or work more often from home. Others told interviewers they expect to drive less eventually, while the remainder said “they have no option but to drive as much as they do.”

Any funding collected through the carbon tax is returned through rebates at tax time, but most participants in the research believed they would receive less than what they paid.

That belief didn’t change when interviewers presented them with a parliamentary budget office report saying 80 per cent of tax filers will receive more in rebates than they pay in carbon fees.

READ MORE: Report lumps in Canada with climate change offenders as Madrid conference gets underway

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Task force brainstorms on support for Semiahmoo homeless community

Community service providers gather to discuss options for housing, income safety and more

Two people reportedly sent to hospital after two-vehicle collision in Surrey

Collision happened on the 16500-block of 64 Avenue

Ride-hailing arrives in North Delta

Uber’s picking up passengers in North Delta, Ladner, but Tsawwassen is still waiting for the service

South Surrey couple donates $250K to students in honour of late son

Joseph Chung Scholarship Fund helps out 100 post-secondary students

Plans for apartments on Strawberry Hill shopping site coming to Surrey council

It would be near the library, and include 123 rental units

Officials reaching out to those in contact with Canada’s first coronavirus patient

The illness has sickened at least 1,975 people and killed 56 in China

‘Devastated’: Fans, celebrities remember Kobe Bryant after his death

Bryant played all of his 20-year career with the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers

Kobe Bryant, daughter killed in California helicopter crash

Bryant entered the NBA draft straight out of high school in 1996

Investigation launched after six dead puppies dumped in Richmond hotel parking lot

RAPS reminds people they can always give up puppies they can’t take care of

Canadian Lunar New Year celebrations dampened by coronavirus worries

But Health Minister Patty Hajdu said today that the risk of infection is low

Man clings to roof of car driving along busy road in Maple Ridge

The man was also seen jumping on the vehicle

B.C. VIEWS: New coronavirus outbreak an important reminder

Walking the line between cautious and alarmist

Risk of coronavirus low in B.C. as first case emerges in Toronto: officials

There have been no confirmed cases of the virus in B.C.

Most Read