Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are the only two provinces on track to meet their 2020 targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, though only five provinces have targets in place, a new national audit says.
The joint audit, conducted by federal environment commissioner Julie Gelfand and auditors general in nine provinces, looked at climate-change planning and emissions reduction progress between November 2016 and March 2018.
The auditors found that seven of the 12 provinces and territories did not have an overall target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, and of the jurisdictions that did, only New Brunswick and Nova Scotia were on track to meet them.
The audit said that in 2015, Nova Scotia reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by an amount greater than what was required by its 2020 target.
“In 2009, the government developed a climate change action plan, which included actions to meet the province’s 2020 target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” the audit said. “By 2015, most actions defined in the action plan were complete.”
It says that success was due in part to the increased use of renewable energy.
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However, it also said external factors contributed to the province’s success, such as the shutdown of two mills in 2012 and an increase in oil prices, which drove down demand for the fossil fuel.
Both Nova Scotia and New Brunswick have set targets of 10 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020.
Newfoundland and Labrador’s target is the same, but the audit said it is not on track to meet its goal.
Prince Edward Island has not set targets for 2020.
Though all provinces and territories signed on to the 2016 Vancouver Declaration on Clean Growth and Climate Change, which called for 2030 targets, only three provinces – New Brunswick, the Northwest Territories, and Ontario – have set a target for that date.
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The audit also found that Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick were three of six provinces that were regularly informing the public about the results of their efforts to reduce emissions.