Liberals commit to carbon-pollution target of net-zero by 2050

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The Trudeau Liberals will attempt to move forward on their campaign promises of setting a target of “net-zero” carbon pollution by 2050, planting two billion trees and protecting a quarter of Canada’s oceans and land.

Governor General Julie Payette revealed these and other details in her speech from the throne in Ottawa on Thursday. She did not get into specifics about how exactly the government plans to zero out the 592 megatonnes of greenhouse gases Canada is projected to emit by 2030.

The government made it clear that it plans to continue with its carbon-pricing system, in the hopes of making it more costly to pollute and so depressing emissions over time. But Payette did not spell out precisely how the carbon price will be raised beyond the Liberals’ current plans to bring it to $50 a tonne by 2022.

There was also a nod to continued government support for the expansion of the fossil fuel industry, which produces the largest proportion of Canada’s carbon pollution, with Payette stating the government will work “just as hard to get Canadian resources to new markets” as it does on fighting the climate crisis.

“Canada’s children and grandchildren will judge this generation by its action — or inaction — on the defining challenge of the time: climate change,” Payette said, according to prepared remarks.

“From forest fires and floods, to ocean pollution and coastal erosion, Canadians are living the impact of climate change every day. The science is clear, and it has been for decades.”

After the speech, Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet indicated he would support the government’s priorities, meaning if the speech leads to a vote of confidence in the minority Parliament, it will pass with Bloc support.