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Trudeau and Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault take on capping GHG emissions

Canada is set to take the first step towards capping emissions from the oil and gas sector.

Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault, along with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, have their work cut out for them in capping oil and gas emissions. Source - Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault
Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault, along with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, have their work cut out for them in capping oil and gas emissions. Source - Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault

Canada is set to take the first step towards capping emissions from the oil and gas sector today as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau starts two days of leaders’ talks at the United Nations climate summit in Glasgow.

How big that step will be is uncertain at this point, even with his recent campaign promises that included a number of new policies to reach a revised target to achieve 40 to 45 percent fewer emissions than in 2005 by 2030. The “biggie” was a promise that oil and gas emissions will be capped and forced down until they hit net zero in 2050, according to CTV News Canada.

There has been a rather big sore spot between Canada’s environmentalists and the federal government for some time over the lack of regulations on oil and gas sector emissions. But Trudeau’s newly appointed Environment Minister, Steven Guilbeault, may prove to be an asset.

Guilbeault, who spent decades as an environmental activist before he was elected to parliament in 2019, was sworn in as environment minister last week, according to Argus Media. In his new role as a member of Trudeau’s cabinet, he will be working with provinces that may have opposed federal policies in the past while environmental activists press him for faster progress, he said.

A carbon tax, phasing out coal-fired electricity, and adoption of a Clean Fuels Standard would all support a shift away from higher-carbon industries to keep Canada competitive through the energy transition, Guilbeault said at a news conference before leaving for Scotland.

Guilbeault also said that the government’s new net-zero advisory body will be tasked with helping craft targets for the oil and gas cap. Today, he will send a letter to the advisory group to start the process.

“It is certainly an environmental issue, it is a social issue, but it is becoming more and more about what will the economic development of your country look like, and what kind of opportunities will you be missing if you refuse to do that?” Guilbeault said.

The opening of the COP26 talks today was prefaced with harsh warnings, reports the Associated Press. For British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, global warming was “a doomsday device” strapped to humanity. United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres told his colleagues that people are “digging our own graves.” 

Trudeau and Guilbeault have their work cut out for them.

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We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of our dear friend Karen Graham, who served as Editor-at-Large at Digital Journal. She was 78 years old. Karen's view of what is happening in our world was colored by her love of history and how the past influences events taking place today. Her belief in humankind's part in the care of the planet and our environment has led her to focus on the need for action in dealing with climate change. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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