(Bloomberg) -- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s promised cap on emissions from Canada’s oil and gas sector is coming by the end of the year, his environment minister said.
The cap — which is among the most contentious of Trudeau’s climate policies — has continued to slip past deadlines. The government had aimed to release a draft proposal in early 2023, but talks have dragged on as policymakers aim to craft a document that ensures that emissions go down without forcing production cuts on one of Canada’s largest industries.
Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault told a climate conference in Ottawa on Thursday that the government has had “hundreds” of meetings on the issue. It’s “a very live conversation,” he said. “But by the end of the year, you will have a pretty good idea of how we will go about that.”
In August, Guilbeault told Bloomberg he hoped to publish a draft proposal for the emissions cap in October, and “definitely” before COP 28, the United Nations climate conference that begins Nov. 30 in Dubai.
Last year, the minister published a proposed emissions-reduction plan that foresaw a 42% reduction in oil and gas sector emissions by 2030 — a target industry groups have argued is too restrictive.
Read More: Canada Seen Missing 2030 Climate Target Due to Government Delays
However, Canadian officials have also said the 42% figure was a modeling exercise, and that in practice, the share of each sector’s emission cuts may look different by 2030. The government’s goal is to reduce emissions by at least 40% below 2005 levels by then.
“We want to make sure that we do this in a thoughtful way,” Energy Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said at the conference during a shared panel discussion with Guilbeault.
The government is trying for an emissions cap “that pushes for as many reductions as we can see in the sector as possible, without shutting in production that’s not linked to global declines in demand,” Wilkinson said.
Guilbeault added that the government is taking care to design the program so it can survive legal challenges. Last month, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the government’s law on environmental assessments for resource projects had strayed too far into provincial jurisdiction.
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