May 17, 2015

Canada Announces New Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions While China And India Issue Statement

In advance of a global climate summit in December, last Friday the Canadian Conservative party pledged to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 30 percent below the country’s 2005 levels within the next 15 years. (The United States has pledged to reduce GHGs to 28 percent below their 2005 levels over the next 10 years.) While details were sparse, according to Reuters, “Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq said the government would develop new rules for natural gas-fired electricity generation and to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas sector.” 

Critics of the government, including Greenpeace, doubted the sincerity of the announcement because they believe Canada is already unlikely to meet its previously-announced goal of cutting GHGs by 17 percent below their 2005 levels by 2020. However, Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq said, “This target is fair and ambitious, an ambitious commitment based on our national circumstances, which includes a growing population, a diversified growing economy and Canada's position as a world leader in clean-electricity generation.” 

Meanwhile, also last Friday, China and India, the number one and number three emitters of greenhouse gases respectively, issued a joint statement arguing that developed nations should “raise their pre-2020 emission reduction targets and honor their commitment to provide $100 billion per year by 2020 to developing countries” to help fight climate change. According to The Hill, China and India made no new promises to reduce their own emissions. 

As a reminder, MSCI will only be open to new U.S. and Canadian efforts to regulate GHGs if other top emitters, like China and India, agree to strong reduction targets. Without those assurances, the U.S. and Canadian metals industries would be at a competitive disadvantage against their counterparts in developing nations.