- Reducing emissions by 375 Mt of C02 or half of 2019’s 730 greenhouse gas emissions total (the same amount of emissions generated in 2005)
- Achieving this through home/building retrofit programs, strong provincial regulations, more ‘sustainable’ jobs for those in transition during a fossil fuel phase out, and strong investment in clean transportation (particularly gas-powered trucks and diesel-fueled vehicles)
- Increasing carbon pricing targets three-fold and making them consistent across provinces and territories
- Mandating rapid, accessible, and affordable carbon reduction for road, shipping, rail, passenger ferries, and aviation
- Achieving a 90% non-emitting electricity target (legislated 2016) by 2030
- Finalizing with provinces and territories diesel reduction targets in rural, remote, and Indigenous communities
- Ending Canada’s oil and gas industry expansion, capping its emissions to reach net-zero by 2050, phasing out coal-fired power, and reducing methane emissions in the oil and gas sector
- Implementing a complete fossil fuels subsidies reform to align oil and gas production with a 1.5°C compatible pathway
- A 2025 target is needed to ensure if corrective measures are needed if non-compliant for 2030
Climate Action Tracker (2009), a well known independent scientific analysis that tracks government climate action and measures it against Paris Agreement goals reminded us in September that Canada’s recent climate policy developments, while positive, are insufficient to address the climate crisis. A stronger 2030 target of 40-45% reduced greenhouse gas emissions (GGEs) by 2030 from 2005 (April 22, 2021) still falls short of a 1.5°C goal. Canada’s last climate plan (December 2020) and 2021 federal budget measures are insufficient to meet that target as well. Canada also continues to face challenges in implementing policies.
The following discusses a climate mitigation strategy consideration to reach an emissions reduction plan of at least 50% by 2030. We start with the breakdown of Canada’s GGEs by economic sector totalling 730 Mt of CO2 eq in 2019, the same amount as 2005. To reach 50%, the target would seem to be half or 365 Mt by 2030.
Benchmarks found below are adapted from Government of Canada planning for 2030, Climate Action Tracker’s assessments, and Climate Action Network Canada’s consultation with its members to define a needed contribution, prior to COP26, to gain Canada’s strongest ambition – up to a 60% reduction by 2030 that clearly connects domestic climate policy with international obligations.
Visit https://climateactionnetwork.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/A-Peoples-Plan-Benchmarks-for-Evaluating-Canadas-International-Climate-Commitments-Ahead-of-2021-Summit.pdf. Indicators below involve the federal Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, and in some cases, collaborations with other Ministries. Further enhanced mandates would need to come from the Prime Minister’s Cabinet (members of the governing party).
RAPID DECARBONIZATION: Limiting warming to 1.5°C requires rapid carbon reduction of all aspects of Canada’s economy, including a managed decline of fossil fuels by 2030. Emissions from oil and gas extraction, gas-powered trucks, and heavy-duty diesel vehicles have continued to climb and be offset by decreases in other sectors. Since 2016, the government has mostly focused on personal road mobility (i.e., incentives, not restrictive measures) to reduce transport emissions and increase use of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs). We already have the technology, policy, regulatory approaches, and investment capacity needed to drive deep emissions reductions vs quick technological fixes.
- Revise Canada’s carbon pricing policy (2019) to include large emitters and upgrade present minimum requirements for industry. Carbon pricing needs to be two to three times more (over time) to support a 1.5°C future. Also, require consistency in pricing across provinces/territories.
- Require rapid, accessible, and affordable carbon reduction for road, shipping, rail, passenger ferries, and aviation by 2030 to hold 1.5°C. Monitor the Clean Fuel Standard (set for December 2022) to reduce 30 Mt CO2e emissions by 2030, standards for light-duty vehicle sales to be zero-emission by 2035 (announced June 29, 2021), and policies for ocean industries and shipping.
- Achieve 90% non-emitting electricity (legislated in 2016) by 2030, aligned with U.S. target of 100% non-emissions electricity before 2035. Monitor portfolio of solutions – renewables, demand responses, efficiencies, transmission lines, storage, new scalable but not yet market ready technologies (i.e., small modular reactors), carbon capture and storage, hydrogen, bio-based alternative fuels, low-carbon construction materials. Finalize with provinces and territories diesel reduction targets in rural, remote, and Indigenous communities.
- Monitor Canada’s commitment (made in December 2018) to phase out coal-fired power (77% of emissions) from electricity production by 2030 including a ban on mining and exporting thermal coal by 2030 (announced November 1, 2021). Secondly, a reduction of methane emissions in the oil and gas sector (October 11, 2021) to 75% (from 2018’s 40–45% below 2012 levels) by 2025.
- End Canada’s oil and gas industry expansion and cap its emissions to reach net-zero by 2050 (announced November 1, 2021). Implement a complete fossil fuels subsidies reform to align oil and gas production with a 1.5°C compatible pathway vs current projections in 2050 of 200 Mt CO2eq emissions. Implement this strategy instead of continuing existing incentives (subsidies, tax credits, loans) to industry to encourage lower carbon intensity production to achieve net-zero.
- Synchronize Bill C-12 (Canada’s Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act) to fully decarbonize Canada’s economy by 2050 as a series of five-year interim emissions reduction targets/plans until 2050, to complement international reporting obligations. A 2025 target is needed to ensure if corrective measures are needed if non-compliant for 2030. Monitor a commitment for Minister of Finance to report annually on NDC financial risks and options related to climate, clarify how Canada’s sharing (carbon budget) is divided across the nation.
- Monitor regulations for buildings and energy efficiency to fall under provincial jurisdiction, municipal labelling of energy use of buildings ie a net-zero-ready model building code and enhanced heat emissions standard, energy efficiency incentives for new buildings, highlighting cities with annual buildings carbon pollution limits, and establishing of strong retrofit markets.
Only decisive action herein will reduce GGEs globally to maintain a 1.5°C compatible future. Another independent monitoring tool informing on the Paris Agreement’s implementation phase, the Climate Change Performance Index’s (2005) 2021 report shows Canada’s mitigation efforts have moved from #58 to #61 in ranking of 64 countries and the European Union (which all together generate more than 90% of global emissions). It is only followed by Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Kazakhstan. Given Canada’s poor performance, it can only strive next to raise the bar, create a new legacy and exceed its current climate goals. Experts emphasize the oil and gas industry as the major block to more ambitious climate policy.
This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard Canada Country Manager Diane Szoller