Scheer shifts position on climate plan, won't commit to meeting Paris targets
Rachel Gilmore, Power Play producer
Published Saturday, December 22, 2018 7:00AM EST
Andrew Scheer would not commit that his yet-to-be-unveiled climate plan will meet Paris targets – despite claiming in the past that it would.
“What I’m telling you today is, our plan will have meaningful reductions,” Scheer said in response to questioning on whether his party’s environmental plan will meet the UN targets for combatting climate change, which are known as the Paris targets. He made the comment on an episode of CTV’s Question Period airing Sunday.
When host Evan Solomon pressed Scheer on the issue – and specified that he doesn’t want Scheer to “dodge” the question – Scheer’s answer did not change.
“Our plan will be reducing our targets in a meaningful way,” Scheer said.
The response signals a shift in Scheer’s position. During an interview on CTV’s Question Period on April 29, the Conservative leader pledged that his yet-to-be-unveiled plan for the environment would reach the Paris targets.
"I will unveil a plan that reaches the targets that we have already voted in favour of… We will have a meaningful plan to reduce emissions and that will also tackle other major environmental issues," Scheer said at the time.
The comments have since become a sticking point for the Liberals. Environment Minister Catherine McKenna has regularly tweeted updates on the number of days that have passed since Scheer promised to unveil a plan to meet the Paris targets.
Now, it’s unclear whether his plan will meet these targets at all.
Scheer has, however, been active in fighting part of the current government’s climate change plan. He has been a part of the vocal “resistance” against the federal carbon tax, alongside premiers from Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Ontario and New Brunswick. The group has said that the carbon tax doesn’t constitute a sound environmental plan and is instead a “tax grab.”
For its part, the federal government has pushed back against critics of the price on carbon. In a speech delivered to an audience of high school students in Ottawa on Oct. 29, Trudeau accused the carbon tax detractors of wanting to “make pollution free again.”
Despite these critiques, Scheer has yet to unveil his own plan to tackle climate change.
An October report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that the world has one decade to cut carbon emissions enough to avoid disaster – a standard they say requires targets that go beyond the Paris target of limiting warming to two degrees Celsius.