Will Canada meet its greenhouse gas emissions target?

Written by on March 31, 2017. Posted in Climate change

Environment Canada has recently announced that its current projections indicate that by 2030, Canada’s greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions will exceed the established federal target by at least 30 per cent.

Canada’s target is to cut emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. This target was originally set by the preceding Conservative government in May 2015, and the current government has chosen to stick to this target as a “floor” for emissions.

This target also comprises Canada’s “nationally determined contribution” under United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement.  In Copenhagen in 2009, Canada pledged to reduce emissions by 17 per cent below 2005 levels by 2020.

Although Canada is responsible for only about 1.6 of global GHG emissions, it is one of the highest per capita emitters.

Environment Canada’s projections are based on policies in place as of November 1, 2016. As such, these projections fail to take into consideration recent developments such as December’s Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Grown and Climate Change, which seeks to introduce carbon pricing across the country. The projections also do not include the federal plan to phase out coal by 2030. The coal phase out plan was announced in late November 2016.

It remains to be seen whether these, along with any additional, efforts will enable Canada to meet its target, despite the trends predicted by these recent projections.