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Canada To Lower Greenhouse Target: The Conservatives downgraded a three-year-old climate-change target as the government filed its official Copenhagen Accord papers on the weekend.

Critics seized on the new numbers as less ambitious than the one that the government had promised. And they argue there’s still no clear understanding of how the government will reach any greenhouse-gas-reduction target.

“It’s another broken promise by this government on the environment. This target is considerably weaker than the one they have been talking about for the past three years,” said Dale Marshall of the David Suzuki Foundation.

Environment Minister Jim Prentice said the new goal is to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by 17 per cent below 2005 levels by 2020. He said this puts the target in step with U.S. plans.

The Harper government announced in 2007 that it would cut the country’s emissions by 20 per cent by 2020.

Prentice said he was confident Canada could meet its new commitment.

“The unfulfilled promise of Kyoto we leave behind us. This is an approach that will work,” Prentice said.

Given that Canada has already backed away from the Kyoto Accord, where this country promised to reduce 1990 emissions by six per cent by 2012, the latest targets raise serious issues about whether these new agreements will be also met, said Dave Martin of Greenpeace.

The Province, 3 February 2010