The IPCC has underscored the urgency of countries reducing their greenhouse gas emissions (GGEs) by 50% over pre-industrial temperatures by 2030. Visit https://www.un.org/en/climatechange/reports. Canada will come close to reducing its emissions by 50% by 2030 because of the following reasons:
First, Canada’s 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan (ERP) (March 2022) details a GGE reduction target strategy of 40-45% below 2005 levels by 2030. This includes carbon pricing increases to reach $170 per tonne by 2030 and committing the oil and gas sector to a 31% reduction from 2005 levels by 2030. The fossil fuel projection informs Canada’s work with industry, provinces and territories, Indigenous Peoples, and other stakeholders that will develop an oil and gas emissions cap by the end of 2023. A strong stakeholder push for equitable distribution from each sector is needed, and phase-out of oil and gas production dates also is needed during this period in order to reach the 2030 emissions goal.
Second, this is the first ERP issued under the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act (June 2021). Progress reports in 2023, 2025, and 2027 will provide transparency and the ability to adapt to technological development changes. Additional targets/plans will be developed for 2035 through 2050. Under the Act, Canada is also required to set progressively more ambitious GGE targets for 2035, 2040, and 2045.
Third, at COP26, Canada agreed to end all new support for projects overseas by the end of 2022 and joined the ambition to phase out “inefficient subsidies. “ Inefficient subsidies have finally begun to be phased out, but Canada has yet to define inefficiency fully. However, Canada has committed to phase-out public financing for the fossil fuel sector, including from federal Crown corporations. It is phasing out coal-fired electricity generation by 2030 and commits to a net-zero Clean Electricity Standard by 2035. Canada’s electricity grid is over 82% emissions-free and is on track to meet 90% non-emitting electricity generation by 2030.
Canada also looks to work with provinces and utilities on a Pan-Canadian Grid Council to promote clean electricity infrastructure investments. Accelerating the switch to zero-emission on-road vehicles is another ERP expectation.
Fourth, the ERP notes that driving deeper reductions than the 40-45% target by 2030 will require accelerated action beyond federal levers. Enhanced climate ambition from provinces and territories, Indigenous Peoples, municipalities, industry, the financial sector, and the public can drive further reductions. For instance – The Chiefs-in-Assembly are clear in their expectations for urgent and transformative action to reduce emissions in Canada by 60% below 2010 levels by 2030.
Canada’s effort to shift fossil fuel support to clean energy systems must remain on course if the 2030 goal is to be met. Having the oil and gas sector reduce GGEs toward a 60% reduction (versus 31%) from 2005 levels would show strong leadership. Canadians must continue to be vocal and seek these changes, given that Canada is still focused on reducing emissions associated with oil and gas production rather than reducing production. Canada also continues to promote targets rather than caps.
This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard Canada Country Manager Diane Szoller.