Though Canada has made progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, a new report conducted by the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy (NRT) has concluded that the country will not achieve the federal government’s reduction target of 17% below 2005 levels by the year 2020.
The report states, “Canada will not achieve its 2020 GHG emission reductions target unless significant new, additional measures are taken. More will have to be done. No other conclusion is possible.”
At the request of the federal Minister of the Environment, the State of Climate Progress in Canada was undertaken in 2011 to inform the government’s regulatory approach to reducing emissions. The research performed by NRT is based on original modeling determined through the use of Environment Canada’s data and in depth consultations with the provinces and territories, academic and public policy experts.
The report notes that the goal is not entirely out of reach but that the cost of additional policies to bring the country closer to the target will be higher on average than other policies that have been pursued to date. Achieving the goal in the most cost-effective way would call for increasing share of emission reductions to come from medium and high cost measures of up to CAD$150 per ton. NRT believes that the majority of the emission reductions will have to come from the oil and gas sector, followed by manufacturing, electricity generation and transportation, in order to meet the target. Alberta emission reductions will need to account for over half of all future reductions, followed by Ontario and British Columbia.
David McLaughlin, NRT President and CEO said, “ This will require more engaged and integrated climate change policy approach at the pan-Canadian level than we have seen to date.”