Canada files emissions target with UN

Canada will strive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 17 per cent by 2020, from 2005 levels, in line with the U.S. target, Environment Minister Jim Prentice announced Saturday.

Canada has aligned itself with U.S. policy as it gave the United Nations its target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions under the Copenhagen Accord.

Environment Minister Jim Prentice on Saturday said that by 2020 Canada would reduce emissions by 17 per cent from 2005 levels, the same target the U.S. announced to the UN on Thursday.

Prentice made the announcement in Calgary, a day before the deadline stipulated in the agreement reached in the Danish capital last month.

"This is in keeping with our commitment, as I indicated in the days leading up to Copenhagen and afterwards, to align our policies with those of our continental partner," the minister said.

Other countries are also expected to submit targets in the coming weeks after UN climate change chief Yvo De Boer said the Jan. 31 deadline was flexible.

The European Union has reiterated a pledge to cut emissions 20 per cent on 1990 levels by 2020 and says it will raise the reduction target to 30 per cent if other large emitters make similar commitments.

Prentice said his government now wants to work toward achieving a comprehensive and binding international treaty, building on the framework agreement reached in Copenhagen, "that applies to all carbon emitters, including China and the United States as well."

He warned there's still much work to be done on getting all major emitters to agree to reductions, adding it took several years to turn the now outdated Kyoto Accord into a binding treaty.

Prentice said in the meantime, the U.S. and Canada will work together on various deals.

"In terms of motor vehicles, starting in 2011, we will have continental tailpipe emissions standards that will deal with carbon emissions for passenger vehicles," he said. "We're also moving forward on harmonization with air transport emissions, marine emissions, as well as those from heavy vehicles, all on a concerted continental basis."