Leaked Canadian Government Plan Includes Promise To Cut Greenhouse Gases, Air Pollution
OTTAWA -- Canada's Conservative government promises to ban inefficient light bulbs, cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent and dramatically reduce air pollution as part of a national environmental initiative according to a leaked document.
Details of the plan unexpectedly became public late Tuesday after a speech Environment Minister John Baird intended to deliver later this week was faxed by mistake to the opposition Liberals.
"It was mistakenly faxed to the wrong fax machine," Baird said. "I'm the minister. I take responsibility for that. That's unusual in this town."
The blueprint, dubbed the Turning the Corner plan, includes various measures to stop the rise of greenhouse gases in three to five years.
"The previous government was never able to put on the brakes," the speech says. "We will do that beginning today."
Once halted, the government plans to reduce greenhouse gases, so that by 2020, Canada will have cut them by 150 million tons. That represents 20 percent of current emissions.
The government also plans to impose targets on industry so that air pollution is slashed in half by 2015.
Companies who reduced their greenhouse gas emissions prior to 2006 will also be rewarded with a one-time credit for early action.
Baird's remarks also say the government will announce a ban on conventional incandescent light bulbs on Wednesday.
Baird and Prime Minister Stephen Harper were scheduled to release their environmental plan Thursday in Toronto.
The Liberals summoned reporters to their offices on short notice late Tuesday to announce what they said was the leak, but refused to release details from the government speech.
Under pressure to explain, the government divulged the text.
Baird warned last week that if the country complies with the Kyoto Protocol it will lead to a recession where gas prices will soar while thousands of jobs will disappear.
Under the accord, the former Liberal government pledged to cut its emissions by 6 percent from 1990 levels by 2012. But the country's emissions are now more than 30 percent above 1990 levels.
Canada's Conservative government, which draws most of its support from oil-rich Alberta and other western provinces, unveiled its own plan to combat climate change last year, but it was criticized because it had greenhouse-gas reduction targets as far ahead in the future as 2050.
Climate change was not a priority for Conservatives when they were elected in 2006, but polls and pundits say it is one of the most important issues in Canada now and the conservatives have since been putting forward many environment friendly initiatives. The new leader of the opposition Liberal Party has pledged to honor Kyoto if he unseats Harper in an election.
Source: Associated Press