Canada’s House of Commons passed a third reading today of Bill C-311, a bill originally tabled in 2006 that’s also known as the Climate Change Accountability Act. It now goes to the Senate before being passed into law.
MPs from all opposition parties — the NDP, Bloc and Liberals — united together to outvote Conservative MPs, who voted as a block against the bill. The final vote count was 149 in favour, 136 against. The bill requires the government to set a medium-term target to bring greenhouse-gas emissions to 25 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020, and a long-term target to bring emissions to 80 per cent below 1990 levels by 2050.
Specifically, it requires the Minister of Environment — within six months of the bill receiving Royal Assent — to report to Parliament a greenhouse-gas emissions target plan for the years 2015 to 2045 in five-year intervals. Also, the minister must issue an annual statement explaining what measures the government is taking to meet the country’s targets, including regulated emission limits and performance standards, market-based mechanisms such as emissions trading or offsets, incentives for industry, and cooperation agreement with provinces.
“This bill matters because the government’s current greenhouse gas targets fall far short of scientific assessments of the emission reductions needed to avoid dangerous climate change, and because to date the government has not produced a credible plan to meet even those targets,” said Matthew Bramley, director of climate change programs at the Pembina Institute, an environmental think tank. Bramley called it a “ground-breaking bill” and encouraged Senators to show the same kind of leadership as opposition MPs showed today.
We have momentum here… let’s not lose it. It’s time to hold this minority Conservative government to account for its inactions on this file.