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Editor’s Edition: Can Canada achieve Trudeau’s new climate promises?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau marked Earth Day by upping Canada’s climate change commitments, aiming to bring the country’s carbon emissions 50 to 52 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.

The announcement, made at a climate summit hosted by U.S. President Joe Biden on Thursday, is the latest in a long line of environmental goals Canada has made before its international peers. What will it take for Canada to snap its track record for failing to live up to its environmental promises?

Tom Rand, the managing partner at ArcTern Ventures, told Yahoo Finance Canada that while it’s encouraging to see politicians set goals that match the current climate risk, targets on this scale will be difficult to achieve.

“The math is looking increasingly cruel. We’ve waited 25 years for action,” he told Jeff Lagerquist in the latest episode of Editors Edition. “I think we need to see a retooling of our economy top to bottom, roughly at a scale equivalent to what we saw the U.S. do when they entered World War Two.”

Rand also discussed Conservative leader Erin O’Toole’s alternative to Ottawa’s carbon tax, personal carbon savings accounts that have been compared to loyalty programs like AirMiles. The plan would see Canadians pay into the account when they buy hydrocarbon-based fuel, and use those funds to buy things like bus passes, bicycles, and electric vehicles.

“This is a Soviet Union sort of carbon rationing gone crazy,” Rand said. “I think O’Toole has painted himself in a corner. He's trying so hard to make a carbon price not look like a carbon price, since the Conservatives have been dissing the carbon price for the last 10 or 12 years.”

While Ottawa is focused on how to transition heavy industries to the green economy, bitcoin has drawn criticism from climate hawks such as Bill Gates for the amount of energy being used to mine the cryptocurrency. Computers solving complex math problems to mine bitcoin are said to be using as much energy as countries like Argentina and the Netherlands.

However, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Tesla boss Elon Musk believe bitcoin has potential to encourage renewable energy use.

Jeff Lagerquist is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow him on Twitter @jefflagerquist.

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