What is Canada's Climate Plan

Trudeau aims to make Canada climate neutral by 2050

Another heavyweight among greenhouse gas emitters is carefully preparing for climate neutrality. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced plans to make Canada greenhouse gas neutral by 2050.

The North American country should then emit at most as many greenhouse gases as disappears from the atmosphere at the same time, because trees, for example, CO2 tie.

The European Union has already agreed on this goal. Future US President Joe Biden wants to do the same in the United States.

Trudeau presented the project to parliament in Ottawa on Thursday. From 2030, there should therefore be short-term climate targets, always for a five-year period. If Trudeau's plan succeeds, future governments would have to give regular account of how they are working towards climate neutrality.

However, his bill does not yet reveal much about what should happen in the decade before 2030 - and where Canada will then be when it comes to reducing emissions.

So far, the country wanted to cut 30 percent of its emissions from 2005 levels by the end of the decade. According to the "Climate Action Tracker", an information portal of the think tanks New Climate Institute and Climate Analytics, this is "insufficient".

That means: If all countries had this level of ambition, the development would amount to up to three degrees global warming compared to pre-industrial times - provided that the plans then become reality.

In the Paris Agreement, however, the governments promised to limit the global average temperature rise to "well below two degrees" and, if possible, to 1.5 degrees, which would be absolutely necessary to save particularly vulnerable states.

The trend is towards the long-term climate target

But the Canadian target for 2030 is already several years old. Actually, according to the Paris Agreement, the government has to submit a new one to the UN Climate Secretariat this year - like all other states.

Submitting long-term climate targets is becoming a trend. While so far hardly any country has actually given an improved target for the stage up to 2030, as required by the Paris Agreement, several governments have recently committed to climate neutrality in the far distance, including Japan, China, South Africa and South Korea in addition to the EU.

This, too, is desirable according to the Paris Agreement. The course set and the measures taken in the coming decade will of course be decisive for whether a country can actually be climate-neutral 20 years later or not.

Canadian environmental organizations see it that way too. "The law lacks key elements," said Dale Marshall of Environmental Defense Canada. "For example, the right goals have to be set every five years, including the crucial period, namely until 2025."

Marshall also calls for independent experts to review government progress. "The actions of the government, not the goals."

Catherine Abreu of Climate Action Network Canada called Trudeau's move an "important step forward". But she also thinks that the plan is too late. "We have to work to ensure that the new law increases Canada's demands for climate protection in the short term and does not just push all the work into distant decades."