Photo credit: Billy Wilson. Source:

Canada’s ability to meet its Paris commitments remains uncertain, reported the independent Climate Action Tracker (CAT) Project.

At COP 21, also known as the Paris Climate Conference, Canada committed to reducing its greenhouse-gas emissions to 30% below 2005 levels by 2030, or 523 MtCO2e. Even with new policies implemented in November of last year, the CAT analysis found Canada’s emissions would still be higher than targeted, at 653 MtCO2e.

“Canada is unlikely to meet [the 2030 targets] under its current policies,” the researchers noted in the analysis.

However, recent steps may turn the tide.

Last October, Canada announced a carbon-pricing plan to be in place by 2018. Carbon would be taxed at a minimum price of $10 per tonne and the price rising to $50 per tonne by 2020. Provinces and territories would have to implement their own plan by 2018, or accept a plan imposed by the federal government. A price on carbon was unanimously advocated for by more than 60 scholars across the country, including six UBC professors.

Two months later in December 2016, Canada took another step towards meeting its Paris commitments with the signing of the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change. Manitoba and Saskatchewan declined becoming signatories of the Framework; Manitoba’s premier Brian Pallister, however, has indicated he will introduce a carbon tax in the province. The Framework included plans such as the phasing out of traditional coal-fired plants by 2030, more stringent building codes, and investment in infrastructure.

According to the Framework report released by the Liberal government in January, Canada is on its way to meeting its Paris commitments. The report asserted Canada’s emissions would drop by 2030 to just 44 MtCO2e higher than its Paris commitments with the measures implemented last November and the plans introduced in the Framework.

Counting on those reductions emissions might be premature, however. The plans introduced in the Framework report have not all been adopted, and the Framework has its critics. Maxime Charron, founder of management consulting firm LeadingAhead, in an opinion piece in BC Business called the report “superficial” and noted it lacked mention of the oilsands.

Other critics are similarly doubtful. “The math does not add up,” said national program director of Environmental Defence, Dale Marshall, in an interview with Global News. “Our emissions are going to increase under the status quo.”

By Jenny Tan, 25 May 2017


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This article was written for Clean Capital News a free bi-weekly publication dedicated to producing topical articles on sustainability and clean technology that advance our understanding of issues like climate change and help generate solutions for a more sustainable future.

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