New Global Study Finds Canada Lagging Behind China on Climate Change Legislation

Fri, 2014-02-28 13:40Kevin Grandia
Kevin Grandia's picture

New Global Study Finds Canada Lagging Behind China on Climate Change Legislation

pollution from syncrude plant in the Alberta oilsands

A frequently used talking point from Prime Minister Stephen Harper is that Canada will only tackle the issue of climate change if countries like China agree to take action as well. 

Looks like that time has come.

A new study released this week that examines nearly 500 pieces of legislation in 66 countries finds Canada lags behind many countries, including China, when it comes to advancing a plan to reduce climate change pollution and fossil fuel usage. 

According to Globe International, the organization behind the study, Canada currently “has no comprehensive federal climate change legislation.”

In China on the other hand, “it was announced in 2010 at the GLOBE International legislators’ forum in Tianjin that China would begin work on [climate] legislation. A first formal draft of the law is expected to be produced in early 2014, after which a comprehensive formal consultation will begin with government ministries, industry and other stakeholders, with passage likely by 2015.”

Image taken from a “Canada extract” of the larger study showing Canada has “no flagship legislation.”

Globe International also reports new investments in energy efficiency to reduce China's use of coal:

“Since 2012 China has invested CNY 4.9 billion (USD 804 million) within the central government’s budget and CNY 2.6 billion (USD 427 million) of the central fiscal bonus to support 2,411 projects on high-efficiency, energy-saving technologies, model products and industries, contracted energy management, developing energy-saving monitoring institutions, energy-saving buildings and green lighting.”

While China clearly has a long way to go, this report shows that government leaders in that country are taking the issue seriously, beginning to invest funds and put in place long term goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

We are coming into a new round of international negotiations on climate change, kicking off with a world leader summit in September of this year hosted by the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, in New York. This sets of a series of major negotiations that will culminate December, 2015 in Paris, where leaders have committed to finalizing a new global framework on climate change. 

China is clearly ramping up to have something significant on the table at the Paris talks. As the Globe International report shows, Canada isn't immune to the international spotlight and Prime Minister Harper is fast running out of excuses for the country's failure to address the climate change file. 

Image Credit: Kris Krug via Flickr