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OTTAWA — Manitoba should have new emissions targets ready to announce in time for a worldwide conference on climate change scheduled for this fall, Premier Greg Selinger said Tuesday.
Emerging from a Climate Change Summit in Quebec City with most of his fellow premiers, Selinger said the discussion mainly saw each jurisdiction discussing individual challenges and plans.
He said Manitoba, which is focused on what he calls a "broad stewardship approach," will have its promised new emissions targets ready by the time the UN Climate Change Conference gets underway at the end of November in Paris. That conference is intended to set a binding and universal agreement on climate among the world's nations.
Selinger said Canada has to be part of that plan, and the provinces need to be partners in it.
"We're working on it," he said. "We want to make a contribution."
Manitoba promised the new targets in 2013, when it had to admit it hadn't fulfilled its obligations under the Kyoto Protocol to reduce emissions to six per cent below 1990 levels by 2012. Although it had enshrined that goal in legislation in 2008, Manitoba emissions in 2012 were more than 20 per cent higher than they were in 1990.
Manitoba said it had been counting on leadership from Ottawa with vehicle-emissions regulations and some sort of cap-and-trade system. Neither materialized.
Ontario joined a cap-and-trade system with Quebec and California Monday, but Selinger said this week Manitoba isn't ready to jump in.
In 2013, Manitoba hired the International Institute for Sustainable Development to help it shepherd in new targets in consultation with the public and industry.
However, Selinger noted Manitoba's overall level of emissions is low compared with the big players in Canada. With 21.1 megatons of emissions, Manitoba accounted for three per cent of Canada's total emissions in 2012. Canada accounts for about two per cent of the world's emissions.
Alberta, with 249 megatons, is the largest emitting province, accounting for more than a third of the country's total of 699 in 2012.
Environmental experts acknowledge Manitoba's issues are smaller in scale, with emissions coming from many smaller emitters rather than several big emitters. Selinger said Manitoba's plan will not just be about cutting emissions, but doing so in a "socially equitable" way, and one that focuses on creating green jobs so economic growth goes hand in hand with cutting emissions.
It was clear the premiers were not all on the same page coming out of Tuesday's meeting in Quebec City. While provinces such as Ontario and Quebec favour cap-and-trade carbon emissions, Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall told his peers Canada, as a whole, should be focusing on creating clean coal technology.
He suggested zeroing in on reducing man-made greenhouse gas emissions -- the cause of climate change and rising world temperatures according to scientists -- is "playing on the margins."
Selinger said the premiers hoped to get more leadership from Ottawa on the issue. Last weekend, Ottawa asked the provinces to provide better data on emissions so it can set its own national targets. It missed a soft deadline for doing so at the end of March.
Last week, a group of economists said a price on carbon is the most practical way to achieve emissions reductions. However, the federal government has expressed a strong dislike of putting any price on carbon, often referring to it as "a tax on everything."
— with files from The Canadian Press