Canada: A Climate Look Past and Forward

Looking Back 2022: the 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan/

Looking Forward 2023: Implementation of the National Adaptation Strategy

On March 29, 2022, Canada’s first 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan under the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act was released by Hon. Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change (MECC), this is a critical federal climate mitigation policy that will serve importance this year. Designed to be evergreen, governments, businesses, non-profits, and communities across Canada are engaging in many actions already driving its reductions as well as its new measures to reach emissions reduction targets of 40-45% below 2005 levels by 2030. Progress reviews are in 2023, 2025, and 2027.

The plan describes $9.1 billion in new investments including:

  • $2.9 billion – $900 million in electric vehicle charging infrastructure, and $1.7 billion to extend Incentives for Zero-Emission Vehicles; clean medium and heavy-duty vehicle regulation toward 100% sales by 2040, and a regulated sales mandate of 100% new passenger vehicles sold in Canada with zero emissions by 2035, with interim targets of at least 20% by 2026, and 60% by 2030.
  • $1 billion to develop a national net-zero by 2050 a $150 million Canada Green Buildings Strategy, and work with provinces, territories, and partners to build on existing initiatives – higher tier building codes, pilot community-scale retrofits, and deep energy retrofits for large buildings. Canada’s Greener Homes Loan program will receive $458.5 million.
  • Helping industries adopt clean technology such as carbon capture, utilization, and storage to transition to net-zero emissions, an investment tax credit to incentivize this technology; investing $194 million to expand the Industrial Energy Management System.
  • Developing a regulated Clean Electricity Standard, making additional investments of $600 million in the Smart Renewables and Electrification Pathways Program for renewable electricity and grid modernization projects and $250 million for predevelopment work for large clean electricity projects, collaborations with provinces, territories, stakeholders, and Indigenous partners to move the grid to net-zero emissions by 2035.
  • The federal government will continue working closely with provinces, territories, stakeholders, and Indigenous partners to develop an approach to cap the oil and gas sector emissions to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, and reduce oil and gas methane emissions by at least 75% by 2030. The Plan includes a projected contribution for the oil and gas sector of a 31% reduction from 2005 levels.
  • $1 billion for new and expanded programs to help farmers develop and adopt sustainable practices, energy-efficient technologies, and solutions like capturing carbon from the air.
  • $2.2 billion to expand the Low Carbon Economy Fund to support projects and Indigenous Peoples, to empower communities to take climate action. A new $180 million Indigenous Leadership Fund will support clean energy and energy efficiency projects. $25 million in Regional Strategic Initiatives that will support energy systems transformation.
  • Investing in nature and natural climate solutions includes $780 million to help Canada’s oceans, wetlands, peatlands, grasslands, and agricultural lands capture and store carbon, and explore the potential for negative emission technologies in the forest sector.
  • Lastly, the continuation of Canada’s carbon pricing since 2019. Canada’s carbon pricing is now at CA$50/tonne of CO2 eq, set to increase to CA$170 in 2030.


In 2023, Canada needs implementation of the MECC’s National Adaptation Strategy released on November 24, 2022, open to the provinces, territories, and National Indigenous groups over a 90-day review of its goals and 21 measurable targets in five priority areas.

Example targets:

Disaster resilience – All communities in zones of high risk develop and implement a wildfire community protection plan by 2050, with 15% by 2028.

Health and wellbeing – By 2030, health systems will have identified risks, developed adaptation plans, and measured progress towards climate resilience.

Nature and biodiversity – Conserve 25% of lands and waters by 2025 and 30% of each by 2030, working to halt and reverse nature loss by 2030 in Canada.

Infrastructure – By 2030, robust guidance, codes and standards covering top climate change risks for key public infrastructure systems available to all infrastructure decision-makers.

Economy and workers – By 2030, coastal communities and businesses will have reduced incremental costs of adaptation by 40%.

The strategy describes adaptation as any activity that reduces the negative impacts of climate change or helps people cope with them, or take advantage of new opportunities resulting from climate change. It means ensuring the ability to prevent, prepare, respond, and recover from climate impacts now and in future years. $1.6 billion in Strategy funding will scale up adaptation solutions from coast to coast, building on an existing $8 billion for adaptation and disaster response.

In coming decades, climate change will bring more frequent, intense and diverse weather extremes than experienced today. All the while, slow-onset impacts will continue to accumulate. A thriving natural environment is foundational to our society and the health and well-being of Canadians.

This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard Canada Country Manager Diane Szoller


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