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Trudeau moves on pledge to cap oil and gas emissions as COP26 talks begin in Scotland

26th meeting of the Council of Parties to the UN climate convention begins in Glasgow
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives in Edinburgh, Scotland, to attend COP26 on Monday, Nov. 1, 2021. It’s the first time the Prime Minister will be at a COP meeting since the Paris agreement was signed just weeks after he first became prime minister in 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Canada is set to take the first step towards capping emissions from the oil and gas sector today as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau starts two days of leaders’ talks at the United Nations climate summit in Glasgow.

This is the 26th meeting of the Council of Parties to the UN climate convention, known as COP26. Trudeau is attending alongside more than 120 other world leaders, including U.S. President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Canada will not be increasing its targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions further than what was announced earlier this year. In July, Canada formally submitted its new target to the UN, which aims to have 40 to 45 per cent fewer emissions than in 2005 by 2030.

The previous target was a 30 per cent reduction in emissions from 2005 by 2030.

Trudeau’s recent election platform included a number of new policies to reach that revised target, including a promise that oil and gas emissions will be capped and forced down until they hit net zero in 2050.

A lack of regulations on oil and gas sector emissions has long been a sore spot between Canada’s environmental groups and the federal government.

Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault told The Canadian Press before he left for Scotland that the government’s new net-zero advisory body will be tasked with helping craft targets for the oil and gas cap. Today, he will send a letter to the advisory group to start the process.

Trudeau arrives at COP from the G20 leaders’ summit in Rome, where leaders agreed that global warming had to be limited to 1.5 C by the end of this century. However, they failed to agree on specific actions to make that happen.

“There’s no question that Canada and a number of other countries would have liked stronger language and stronger commitments on the fight against climate change than others,” Trudeau said at his closing news conference.

“But we did make significant progress on recognizing 1.5 degrees is the ambition we need to share.”

—Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press

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