New federal Clean Air Act won?t clean air

The federal government?s new Clean Air Act will actually lead to increased pollution, according to the David Suzuki Foundation.

An initial analysis by the Foundation finds the Act lacks meaningful targets, sets most timelines in the distant future, and focuses on emissions intensity ? all of which guarantee continued rising pollution levels in Canada.
?Instead of acting to cut pollution, the government is offering hollow rhetoric as a smokescreen for ignoring existing laws that could make a real difference if they were enforced,? says David Suzuki Foundation policy analyst Dale Marshall. ?It?s an elaborate framework for procrastination.?
The proposed legislation will change five existing acts: the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, the Energy Efficiency Act, the Motor Vehicle Fuel Consumption Standards Act and legislation governing shipping and railways. Some of the changes could make the laws less effective, calling into question some existing methods the government has to limit harmful emissions.
?Canada needs leadership to solve its biggest environmental challenges, but this is not what we?re seeing here,? says Foundation senior policy advisor Pierre Sadik. ?The federal government could have set strong, realistic targets and timelines, then let industry get on with it. They chose not to.?
Mr. Marshall points out that the Act lacks firm targets to reduce emissions. The only definite element is more consultation ? potentially delaying real action for years.
?It seems the government is intimidated by the prospect of trying to understand or deal with the issues, so it?s drafted an act that ensures it won?t have to,? Mr. Marshall says. ?The targets they?re proposing allow greenhouse gas emissions to increase for years to come.?
Mr. Sadik says that the federal government has clearly ignored the Environment Commissioner?s recommendations for immediate reduction targets and enforcement to ensure compliance.
?At best, this Act will further delay action on Canada?s serious environmental problems,? says Mr. Sadik. ?At worst, it represents a step backward, because the government has opened the door to years of legal challenges of its authority to set national environmental standards.?
For more information, please contact:
Dale Marshall
Policy analyst
David Suzuki Foundation
Cell: 613-302-9913
Pierre Sadik
Senior policy advisor
David Suzuki Foundation
Cell: 613-799-8626
Justin Smallbridge
Communications Specialist
David Suzuki Foundation
Tel. 604-732-4228 x.237

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