With the signing and expected Canadian ratification of the Paris Agreement, eyes now turn to domestic implementation of the agreement. Like elsewhere, this is not a simple process, but Canada faces the complication that power over energy and natural resources is shared between the federal and provincial governments. Everything now hinges on these negotiations.

To aid this process, the Canadian experts of the DDPP used modeling and analysis to assess what Canada’s collective current federal and provincial current policies are delivering, and what new announcements are likely to deliver in terms of emission reductions. A report released in late April presents the first phase of a modeling initiative to take stock of Canada’s GHG aspirations vs its current and announced policies. A second phase will identify areas where the federal and provincial governments can potentially work together to deliver policy aligned with long-term decarbonization aspirations.

The report estimates that the current gap to the 2020 target is 76 Megatonnes (Mt) and 91 Mt to the 2030 one, leaving Canada’s emissions 21% more than its INDC. While current and announced policies are a very good start, gaps in policy coverage in some jurisdictions remain and will limit Canada’s ability to close the gap to its 2030 target of 30% below 2005 levels.



DDPP_StillMindingGap_Fig4New (PDF- 107Ko)

The brief ends with the following recommendations :

  • All emitting sectors of the Canadian economy need to be covered by GHG policy.
  • Vehicle and building energy and GHG intensity regulations must become consistently tighter, both to control current emissions and to send a clear innovation signal to manufacturers
  • All regions need a basic level of carbon pricing that rises predictably from current levels of $15 to at least $30 per tonne to cover general combustion emissions (e.g. from industry, driving, and furnaces).  Further price ratcheting needs to be considered
  • All regions need to continue current trends towards decarbonized electrification, setting it up as the first choice fuel for everything that does not move, and if battery costs fall, personal and light freight transport
  • Significantly more innovation support is needed to drive down the future costs of emission reductions, especially in liquid fuels and industrial emissions.
  • Finally, Canada may eventually need a national decarbonization authority to set sector-by-sector emissions guidelines, monitor progress, and identify shortfalls.  This analysis can be used to set minimum standards, and to clearly define the conditions for mandatory federal action.