“I read that Canadians think the Obama plan is credible, and their targets are virtually identical to ours,” Mr. Harper said after the meeting.
On President Obama's proposal to cut carbon emissions at the G8 summit in L'Aquila, July 9, 2009
The G8 leaders pledged to reduce emissions by 80% by 2050. Now, that may sound about the same as what Environment Minister Jim Prentice vows Canada will achieve--60-70%--regardless of what the G8 leaders agree to: "Prentice, has said the government does not plan to sway from its commitment to cut greenhouse gases by 60-to-70 per cent by the year 2050, even though the G8 deal mandates an 80-per-cent cut."
Instead of thinking of this as a 10% difference--70 versus 80%--look at the remainder. If we achieve a 60% reduction in carbon emissions, we are left pumping out twice as much carbon as if we achieve an 80% reduction. A one-and-a-half to two-fold difference is not "virtually identical."
Canada is already one of the world's most irresponsible emitters, with per capita levels in the top three emitters in the world, behind only the United States and Luxembourg: "Canada is a dismal 27th out of 29 OECD nations when greenhouse gas emissions are measured on a per capita basis. Canadians produce 16.84 tonnes of carbon dioxide, per person, per year, 48% above the OECD average of 11.41 tonnes and more than four times the global average."
On Canada's per capita GHG levels
I've written about Harper and his emissions policy before
Leaders of G8 and developing nations look on as Prime Minister Stephen Harper,
left, is the last to arrive for a family photo during the G8 summit in L'Aquila, Italy,
July 9, 2009. Jason Reed/Reuters