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Canada won't meet emission target by 2020: Policy agency

Kristy Kirkup, Parliamentary Bureau
The Parliament Buildings in Ottawa are seen in this file photo. (JOHN MAJOR/QMI Agency)

The Parliament Buildings in Ottawa are seen in this file photo. (JOHN MAJOR/QMI Agency)

OTTAWA - A policy agency set to be defunded by the Tories issued a government-requested report Wednesday that advises Canada won't meet its greenhouse gas emission target at this rate by 2020.

The National Roundtable on the Economy and the Environment - a group the Conservatives will defund once the federal budget passes in Parliament - says Canada is not track to reach its target of slashing greenhouse gas emissions to 17% below 2005 levels.

The agency says "significant measures" need to be taken at a policy level, including collaborative work between the federal government and the provinces and territories, if Canada is going to get on track with its plan.

"The analysis shows that Canada's 2020 target is a challenging goal that will require significant and more stringent policies to drive increasingly high cost reductions. A gradual process of trying to capture only the lowest cost emission reductions will not be successful," the report states. "The analysis clearly suggests the oil and gas sector, and Alberta in particular, have a significant role to play."

The report also indicates provinces and territories are responsible for three-quarters of greenhouse gas reductions.

But the government insists it has a plan to slash emissions while creating jobs.

"The report shows there has been considerable progress and there are perhaps other actions we can consider but when this government came into office, there had been a great increase in emissions. Now those emissions are decreasing and we intend to continue along that path," Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in the Commons.

NDP chief Thomas Mulcair says Harper simply doesn't believe in climate change and doesn't believe "we have to reduce our greenhouse gases."

"It is a bit of irony that the National Roundtable on the Economy and the Environment, which has done extraordinarily good work over the years, of course, is being unplugged by the Conservatives," Mulcair told reporters.

Mulcair also took a shot at Environment Minister Peter Kent, who requested the report in 2011.

"We have Mr. Kent who simply reads whatever is in front of him. He reminds me of Will Ferrell's character Ron Burgundy (from the 2004 movie Anchorman) who will just read whatever it says on his piece of paper and he doesn't even have to understand it."

On Twitter: @kkirkup