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The need to act with vigour and with urgency to reduce Manitoba's greenhouse gas emissions

On Tuesday April 19th, a spoke in a Members' Statement on the urgency of action to reduce Manitoba's greenhouse gas emissions.  After two decades of ineffective action by NDP and Conservative governments, Manitoba is a laggard and must act with urgency to catch up.  There is a need not only to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but also to position Manitoba well for the economy of the future which will rely more on electricity and less on fossil fuels.  My Members' Statement and Question in QP  are below. 

Member's Statement - Manitoba's Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Madam Speaker, the window to prevent global temperatures from rising more than 1.5°C above pre-industrial aver­ages is rapidly closing. Action is needed now. Implementation and actually reducing greenhouse gas emissions takes time.

      Because of inadequate action by consecutive NDP and PC gov­ern­ments, Manitoba's greenhouse gas emissions have risen by 5.6 per cent from 2005 to 2020. Every other province but one has achieved substantial reductions.

      Manitoba is an outlier. Manitoba is far behind other provinces.

      Between 2005 and 2020, Canada's greenhouse gas emissions fell by 9.3 per cent, while in Manitoba they went up sub­stan­tially.

      This year, the government's budget has allocated only 6 and a half million for one of the most urgent of all causes. The money has been allocated without a target and without an adequate approach to reduce the greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. Each greenhouse gas and each section of our economy must be itemized as to precisely what reductions are planned.

      A major effort is needed to move to electric ve­hicles, to retrofit homes and to include an effective plan in agriculture. Agriculture is responsible for a large majority of the methane and nitrous oxide pro­duction and a considerable amount of the production by vehicles and buildings. In total, this may account for as much as 40 per cent of Manitoba's greenhouse gas emissions.

      There are opportunities in agriculture which are a win for farmers, a win for the province and a win for the climate. As Liberals, we've been saying this for 20 years, yet so far neither NDP nor Conservatives have collaborated effectively with agriculture pro­ducers to reduce greenhouse gases.

      There's precious little in the Manitoba budget to slash greenhouse gases. Vague promises of future action are not enough. It is urgent to act today.

 

Questions Period - Action on Climate Change

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Madam Speaker, the latest IPCC report says action is needed now to keep global temperatures from rising by more than 1.5°C.

      Because of inadequate action by consecutive NDP and Conservative gov­ern­ments, greenhouse gas emissions in Manitoba have risen by 5.6 per cent from 2005 to 2020.

      In every other province but one in Canada, emissions have fallen, so much so that averaged over­all Canada's greenhouse gas emissions are more than 9 per cent below those in 2005.

      Manitoba is an outlier and far behind other provinces.

      Why was the mention in the budget so small and so weak compared to what is needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in our province?

Hon. Jeff Wharton (Minister of Environment, Climate and Parks): I certainly ap­pre­ciate a question from the member on climate, Madam Speaker.

      We know that our gov­ern­ment is focused on climate and reducing GHGs, Madam Speaker. We know that under the former NDP gov­ern­ment nothing was done.

      We are committed. Our announcement this mor­ning to invest over $50.7 million to fix up orphaned and abandoned mines that were left behind by the NDP, Madam Speaker, is a crucial invest­ment to­wards reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and also improving our environ­ment for all Manitobans.

      We know that there's lots of work to do. We are committed to that work, and we will get it done.

 [In spite of Mr Wharton's pledge to be committed to do the work, the lack of action in the budget, and his claim that fixing up abandoned mines is crucial to reducing greenhouse gas emissions - It is not, mean that we and others are very sceptical of this governments' efforts to reduce greenhouse gases.] 

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