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Ranking of provinces shows Quebec, Ontario, B.C. at the top

VANCOUVER - Provinces are leading the way in the fight against climate change according to a report released today by the David Suzuki Foundation. This is in direct contrast to claims made by federal Environment Minister Peter Kent in his report on Canada's greenhouse gas emissions for 2010.

In the absence of significant national policies to combat climate change, some provinces are stepping in with their own plans and policies. But those plans vary widely, according to, "All Over the Map 2012: A Comparison of Provincial Climate Change Plans", by the David Suzuki Foundation.

The report doesn't rank any province as "Best" for its climate initiatives, but Quebec, Ontario and B.C. rank as "Very Good", while Alberta and Saskatchewan rank as "Worst".

"The report shows that stronger leadership from the provinces is crucial given the lack of effort from the federal government," said David Suzuki Foundation climate change and clean energy specialist Ian Bruce. "Applying the best policies and practices of the provinces on a national scale would benefit human health and the environment and would also provide a level playing field for businesses."

Ontario's has gone up since the 2008 DSF rankings, thanks to gains in reducing carbon pollution and creating thousands of clean-energy jobs. Ontario made progress by shutting down several polluting coal-fired power plants and prioritizing clean energy with incentives supported by the Green Energy and Economy Act. Quebec, in partnership with California, made strides by passing the first North American regulations to cap and reduce global warming emissions from industrial sources. Although B.C. still ranked among the top provinces, its rating went down, in part because of a failure to follow through on its ambitious climate change action plan and address emissions from oil and gas companies, including the proposed expansion and development of the shale gas industry.

With the country's highest emissions and relatively weak laws and incentives for clean energy, Alberta and Saskatchewan remain at the bottom of the list and are the main drivers of Canada's rising emissions because of continued reliance on polluting fossil fuel industries.

Other provinces that improved their rankings include Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and the Northwest Territories. Along with B.C. and Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Nunavut also saw their rankings go down.

"Leading provinces are prioritizing clean-energy policies that Canadians recognize are vital in the transition from overuse of natural resources to a cleaner, more innovative economy," Bruce said. "These provinces show that Canada could make progress and become a world leader in solving global warming if the federal government joined forces."

The report looks at the climate change plans and actions of each province, providing details about strengths, weaknesses and missed opportunities, as well as recommendations for improvement.

In an October 2011 review by the Office of the Auditor General of Canada, the Environment Commissioner reported that the federal government's strategy is "disjointed, confused and non transparent" and that, overall, the government's policies are now projected to be 90 per cent weaker than they were in 2007.

Interactive map available online at: http://www.davidsuzuki.org/issues/climate-change/projects/race-to-the-top/map/

Full report available for download at: http://www.davidsuzuki.org/publications/reports/2012/all-over-the-map-2012/

Download a backgrounder on the report.

April 11, 2012

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