Environment Minister Peter Kent talks climate change

Peter Kent, Canada's environment minister, responds to criticism of the government's climate change plans and discusses the oilsands on The Current.

Peter Kent, Canada's environment minister, is taking issue with Environment Commissioner Scott Vaughan's recent conclusion that the federal government's climate change plans are so off-track that it will be nearly impossible for the country to reach its Kyoto target.

"I disagree completely," Kent told CBC's The Current Thursday during an in-depth interview about Canada's climate change plans and policies.

He said Vaughan's criticisms, released in a report earlier in October, were largely the result of a misunderstanding.

Environment Minister Peter Kent speaks during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Sept. 22, 2011. (THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Sean Kilpatrick)

Kent outlined the Canadian government's position on climate change, stating that Canada's global contribution to greenhouse gases linked to climate change is "very small" but it still must play "a part" in terms of mitigation.

He said Canada is tackling the problem through regulation, starting with the transportation sector, with coal-fired electricity, petroleum, steel and buildings regulations to come.

He also talked about the role of the oilsands, calling their growth "a challenge for us" but adding that they are a "minor contributor to Canada's total emissions."

"There's a significant imbalance in the focus on only the oilsands," he said.