Canada's pledge for 2020 is -17% below 2005 levels by 2020, which translates to +3% relative to 1990. This pledge is rated “inadequate”. Under current policy projections, Canada will miss its 2020 pledge by a wide margin. While emissions need to decline by 13% from 2012 levels to achieve the pledge, under current policy projections Canada’s emissions are projected to increase by 9% in this period. Additional measures are needed to achieve the required remaining reductions of 151 MtCO2e by 2020.
Canada's Kyoto Protocol target for CP1 (2008–2012) was a reduction of 6% below 1990 emission levels. In December 2011, Canada withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol, and emissions increased to 18% above the 1990 level in 2012 instead.
Canada's commitment under the Convention to reduce emissions by 17% below 2005 emission levels by 2020 (+3% relative to 1990) weakens their previous Kyoto target. It also weakens their initial pledge under the Copenhagen Accord to reduce emissions by 20% below 2006 emissions by 2020. The new target was clarified by Canada as aligning its pledge with the USA’s pledge.
Canada proposed to exclude emissions from natural disturbances from the reference level and from the commitment period’s cumulative emissions, and supports accounting for removals from harvested wood products1. This could lead to higher credits (or lower debits).
In 2007 Canada proposed a long term target of reducing emissions by 60 to 70% below 2006 levels by 2050. However, this is an aspirational target that is not legislated in any form.
The ‘Climate Change Accountability Act’, a private member’s bill2 proposing a more ambitious target of reducing emissions by 80% compared to 1990 levels has been submitted to the Canadian Parliament four times, most recently in June 2014. Although the bill has passed the House of Commons in 2006 and 2010, it has never passed the Senate.
We rate Canada’s pledge for 2020 “inadequate”. A slightly more ambitious pledge would be in line with multiple effort sharing approaches including the capability and responsibility approaches and could bring Canada into the “medium” category. We rate Canada’s long term target to reduce emissions by 60 to 70% below 2006 levels by 2050 “Medium”. This pledge is in line with approaches that focus on capability. To reach a fair share of emissions, Canada’s emissions would need to be negative by 2050 according to multiple effort sharing approaches.
With currently implemented policies, Canada will reach emissions of 762 MtCO2e in 2020 (excluding emissions from Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry – LULUCF). In 2030 emissions are projected to increase to 815 MtCO2e.
Canada’s emissions have shown an upward trend in the period 1990 – 2007, reaching their highest levels at 749 MtCO2e in 2007. At the beginning of the financial crisis, emissions dropped significantly. In the period 2010 – 2012, emissions remained fairly stable at around 700 MtCO2e. With currently implemented policies, emissions are projected to show an upward trend again.
Canada has various policies in place to reduce emissions. Fuel economy standards for light and heavy duty vehicles are aligned with federal-level regulations in the US. The second phase of the light duty vehicle standards does have potential to reduce emissions below business as usual. A performance standard for new coal-fired power plants will come into force on the 1st of July 2015, limiting the emissions intensity to 420 tCO2/GWh. Since the standard at first only applies to new power plants, it implies no significant emissions reduction against business as usual by 2020, given the current poor investment environment for new coal power due to low gas prices. The first existing power plants will be subject to the performance standard in 2020. There are also some promising state level activities, especially Ontario’s decision to phase out coal-fired power plants by 2014, which are included in the current policy projections.
Targets for 2020 were calculated from the most recent CRF data (2014).
We calculated Canada's LULUCF accounting quantities in 2020 for afforestation, reforestation and deforestation using the current Kyoto rules, and used a net-net approach with a projected reference level for 2013-2020 for forest management.
Current policy projections
We used the most recent GHG inventory for historic data (CRF 2014) and projections from Canada’s Sixth National Report on Climate Change (Government of Canada, 2014).
CRF (2014). UNFCCC AWG-KP Submissions 2014. Common Reporting Format.
Government of Canada (2014). Canada’s Sixth National Report on Climate Change.
Government of Canada (2010). Canada's pledge to the Copenhagen Accord. Compiled in: Compilation of economy-wide emission reduction targets to be implemented by Parties included in Annex I to the Convention, UNFCCC (2011).
Government of Canada (2009a). Further elaboration of the options, elements and issues contained in annex IV to document FCCC/KP/AWG/2008/3 and annex III to document FCCC/KP/AWG/2008/5, including on which proposals could address cross-cutting issues, and how.
Government of Canada (2009b). Informal Submission to the AWG-KP: Data on forest management.
Government of Canada (2007). Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP):Information and data on the mitigation potential of policies, measures and technologies.
1 See FCCC/KP/AWG/2010/18/Add.1 (paragraphs 27-28, page 34) for details on accounting for harvested wood products.
2 A private member’s bill is a bill introduced in the House of Commons by a member of parliament who is not a member of the cabinet.