Canadian Clean Air Act meets icy reception

Canada’s newly proposed Clean Air Act — hyped as the centerpiece of the Conservative government’s green agenda — is getting booed right off the stage. The bill sets a far-out goal of cutting greenhouse-gas emissions 45 to 65 percent by 2050, making no mention of the country’s commitment to the more near-term goals of the Kyoto Protocol. Targets for reducing smog would not be set until 2020. Vehicle fuel-efficiency regulations would be introduced in 2010, but the bill doesn’t specify how strict they would be. The legislation would also remove greenhouse gases from the Canadian Environmental Protection Act’s list of toxic substances, instead categorizing them as “air pollutants”; the change could lead to more court challenges of government regulation of GHGs. Canada’s New Democratic Party called the act a “made-in-Washington green plan.” Zing! All three opposition parties in the House of Commons have said they will vote against the bill, giving it no chance to pass into law this session.