Canada on pace to fall well short of 2030 climate commitment, report says

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Canada is on pace to fall well short of its emissions targets, according to a new government-funded report that says the country’s current strategies are to reduce its greenhouse gas production by just 16 percent by 2030, relative to 2005 levels. Will give – a far cry Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised a 40 percent cut.

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The report also noted that Ottawa’s recent commitment to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 requires rethinking some technologies to meet its 2030 target. For now, the authors say, the country is at risk of leaning too heavily on short-term solutions that promote more efficient use of fossil fuels, rather than focusing on the transition to essential non-emitting energy sources for net zero.

The report will be released Wednesday by the Montreal-based Trottier Energy Institute, known for its clean-economy energy forecasts. The work was sponsored by Natural Resources Canada along with the Trottier Foundation.

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The new analysis comes as Mr Trudeau prepares to spell out Canada’s emissions targets at COP26, a UN climate summit in Glasgow next month. Trottier’s research stands to increase pressure on his Liberal Party to move faster on climate-related promises It has built in its recent campaign platform. Some of those pledges, such as sales quotas for electric vehicles and a cap on oil-and-gas-sector emissions, would be complicated and controversial to implement.

The report also underscores the need for greater clarity about the expected emissions-reduction impacts of liberals’ policies.

The lack of such transparency to date may help explain why the report is less optimistic than recent climate modeling by outside experts. Some past reports have found Canada on track to meet its prior commitment to a 30 percent emissions reduction, relative to 2005 levels, by 2030.

In an interview, two authors of the Trottier report said they did not include the effects of federal climate-related policies that do not have specific emissions-reduction objectives. They include, for example, the new federal $8-billion Net Zero Accelerator Industrial Fund. The government did not specify how much money from the fund would go toward attracting existing industry (which would reduce national emissions) and clean-technology manufacturing (which might not).

“A lot of money has been spent in recent years to no avail,” said Normand Musso, academic director of the Trottier Institute. “So you need to build programs in a more efficient way.”

Trottier’s pessimism relative to previous reports is also probably due to its modeling, which only includes policies implemented by the government, not just those he has promised. (One notable exception is that the study factors in planned carbon price increases during this decade as the biggest driver of the projected 16-percent reduction.)

To achieve the 2030 target, the report highlights some relatively low hanging fruits. This includes commercial and residential buildings, which account for about 10 percent of national emissions, and which the institute’s modeling suggests “can be decarbonized at a relatively low cost with current technologies.”

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greenhouse gas emissions estimates

according to region and scenario

million tons of CO2 equivalent

industrial combustion

direct air capture

energy production

transportation

Lightning

waste and runaway sources

industrial processes

and agriculture

commercial and residential

Year:

2030

2040

2050

2060

R

New Zealand

R

New Zealand

R

New Zealand

R

New Zealand

Scenario:

1,000

800

600

400

200

0

-200

landscape description

R

reference scenario. This scenario does not limit greenhouse gas reduction targets.

New Zealand

This scenario assumes a net-zero target for emissions by 2050 relative to 2005, and a 40-percent reduction target by 2030. This closely matches the goals of the current government.

, Source:

Canadian Energy Outlook 2021

greenhouse gas emissions estimates

according to region and scenario

million tons of CO2 equivalent

industrial combustion

direct air capture

energy production

transportation

Lightning

waste and runaway sources

industrial processes

and agriculture

commercial and residential

Year:

2030

2040

2050

2060

R

New Zealand

R

New Zealand

R

New Zealand

R

New Zealand

Scenario:

1,000

800

600

400

200

0

-200

landscape description

R

reference scenario. This scenario does not limit greenhouse gas reduction targets.

New Zealand

This scenario assumes a net-zero target for emissions by 2050 relative to 2005, and a 40-percent reduction target by 2030. This closely matches the goals of the current government.

, Source:

Canadian Energy Outlook 2021

Greenhouse gas emissions estimates by region and landscape

million tons of CO2 equivalent

industrial combustion

.

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