Trudeau summons premiers for climate talks

Premiers, federal cabinet to be briefed before going to UN climate summit in Paris with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called a meeting with premiers in Ottawa to update the country’s position on greenhouse gas reductions before they jet to Paris for the latest United Nations climate summit in early December.

“I’m pleased to be able to announce that I will be meeting with the premiers in a First Ministers’ meeting on Nov. 23,” Trudeau told reporters after his first cabinet meeting in Ottawa Thursday.

“We are having a climate briefing by top climate scientists for the first ministers and my own cabinet, to be followed by a working dinner with the premiers, to exactly discuss the kind of strong and cohesive message we will be delivering as Canadians in Paris at the very important COP21 conference.”

Canada’s current target is to reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions 30 per cent by 2030. B.C. has a more aggressive target of reducing emissions 33 per cent by 2020, set by former premier Gordon Campbell.

Premier Christy Clark has so far continued Campbell’s climate policy, with the carbon tax on fuels remaining at the same level as when she took office. Clark has promised to release her government’s “Climate 2.0” plan before she joins the Canadian delegation in Paris.

A new B.C. policy limiting emission “intensity” for liquefied natural gas production, rather than a set limit, has raised questions about how an LNG industry can be developed without pushing overall emissions up.

Trudeau has signalled that he wants more greenhouse gas reduction, but that the provinces should use their preferred approaches rather than face an imposed national strategy. The day after his majority government was elected Oct. 19, Trudeau said he is looking forward to changing Canada’s reputation as a “less than enthusiastic actor” on climate policy.

VIDEO: Trudeau to meet with Canadian premiers ahead of Paris climate-change talks