Liberal leader and Canada’s Prime Minister-designate Justin Trudeau greets supporters during a rally in Ottawa, Ontario, October 20, 2015.

Reuters/Chris Wattie

Newly elected Canadian leader Justin Trudeau will arrive in office with a promise to improve Canada’s battered environmental image, vowing a new strategy for global climate negotiations in Paris this December.Although he has yet to say how he will achieve his goals, the Liberal Party leader faces a tough task meeting expectations.Trudeau has less than 40 days before the Paris conference begins, hardly time for yet-unnamed energy and environment ministers to get up to speed, let alone to forge a common position with Canada’s provinces on carbon emissions cuts. Yet the Liberal leader has pledged a break from the policies of defeated Prime Minister Stephen Harper, a politician from Alberta’s oil patch who pulled Canada out of the Kyoto treaty and fought to shield the energy industry from global commitments to cut carbon emissions. Despite his pro-environmental stance, share prices of Canadian energy companies were not rattled by Trudeau’s election.Energy shares in the Toronto stock market advanced by 1.26 percent on Tuesday, outperforming the overall index, which rose by 0.61 percent. During the campaign, Trudeau attacked Harper relentlessly for turning Canada into a “pariah” on climate change issues. He pledged to attend the Paris conference, and then convene the country’s provincial premiers within 90 days to create national emissions targets under a framework that would allow provinces to set a price on carbon.That party platform had almost no specifics but it raised expectations both domestically and abroad that Trudeau would alter Canada’s course on climate. As votes were still being counted, former U.S. Vice President Al Gore said he hoped the election win would “put Canada back in a leadership position” ahead of the Paris summit.And a White House spokesman said on Tuesday that, with regard to commitments in Paris, “we believe that it’s possible that there is more that Canada can do in this regard.”

Harper had pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions to 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 – though his plan gave few details on how to get there. Critics say Canada’s rising emissions levels means it has almost no chance of meeting the goal.Sources close to the climate negotiations say the United States and the European Union have both told the Canadian government privately that Harper’s target was not ambitious enough. “We’ll have to …Read More

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