Deputy Minister transition binder 2023: Climate change


Climate change is a global issue

The Working Group I contribution to IPCC 6th Assessment Report concluded it is unequivocal that warming of the climate is due to human influence.

The best estimate of human induced global warming is approximately 1.1°C above pre-industrial levels, closely matching the best estimate of observed warming over the same period. This warming will continue to persist for centuries to millennia, given the long lifetime of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Similarly, CO2-induced global warming will persist for centuries to millennia, given the long lifetime of CO2 in the atmosphere.

Best estimates of global temperature rise by late century, relative to pre-industrial, are 1.4 to 4.4°C global warming, depending on the emissions scenario. In the lowest emission scenario modelled, global temperature is projected to peak above 1.5°C and then decline due to deployment of measures to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This projection is part of the best estimates, but there are a range of projected values for each emission scenario.

IPCC Working Group III (Mitigation) concluded in their report released in 2022 that without a strengthening of policies beyond those implemented by the end of 2020, global warming of 3.2°C (2.2 to 3.5°C) is projected by 2100.

Canada’s climate is warming faster than the global average

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Chart showing the evolution of surface temperature differences relative to the mean from 1961 to 1990. Historical observations of annual mean surface temperature show that the rate of surface warming for Canada (slope of the blue line) is more than twice the rate of surface warming for the globe (slope of the red line). The rate of warming for the Canadian Arctic (slope of the grey line) is about three times the global rate.

Cover page of Canada’s Changing Climate Report, produced by ECCC in 2019.

Canada’s Changing Climate Report, produced by ECCC in early 2019, explains how and why Canada’s climate has changed and what changes are projected for the future.

Impacts of climate change are a concern across Canada

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A map of Canada with 11 different climate change impacts across the country. These impacts are illustrated by various small circular images and include:

  • Ecosystem changes/shifts in species distribution affecting food security and species at risk.
    • Changes to the fish habitat in the northern bodies of water are especially profound for First Nations people who rely on the fish as a protein staple in their diet.
  • Permafrost thaw affecting northern infrastructure.
    • Due to thawing, permafrost climate-related maintenance costs in 2016 have more than tripled compared to the previous decade for the Dempster Highway, which links southern Canada to the Arctic
  • Reduced ice cover affecting economic development and traditional ways of life.
    • Residents have described their limited access to sea ice as a kind of spiritual death or ecological grief.
  • Increased pests (pine beetle) affecting forest productivity and fires.
    • BC wildfires affected 19 health facilities with 880 patients evacuated in 2017.
  • Increased frequency of drought affecting forests, agriculture, and wildfires
    • Estimated costs from the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfires are $5.3 billion.
  • Reduced reliability of ice roads affecting access to remote mine sites and northern communities
    • In 2006, following a shortened winter-road season on the Tibbitt to Contwoyto Winter Road, approximately 1,200 loads had to be transported by air during the summer and fall.
  • Reduced glacier cover affecting water resources and hydro production.
    • In a medium emission scenario, glaciers across the mountains of western Canada could lose 74% to 96% of their volume by late century.
  • Increased risk of flooding.
    • Toronto’s 2018 flood, during which 51 mm fell in one hour, resulted in $80 million in insurance claims.
  • Sea level rise and coastal erosion impacting infrastructure.
    • PEI is losing an average of 28 cm of land every year due to coastal erosion.
  • Lower Great Lakes water levels affecting shipping, hydro, and recreation.
    • Algal blooms will cost the Lake Erie economy $272M a year over a 30-year period.
  • Increased temperatures affecting human health due to heat stress and diseases.
    • Lyme disease cases have increased 1300% since 2009.

Canada’s international commitment

Paris Agreement

Canada’s commitment

Canada’s 2021 enhanced Nationally Determined Contribution under the Paris Agreement

Overview of Canada’s efforts on climate change

Key achievements:

  • Putting a price on carbon pollution
  • Accelerated phase-out of coal-fired power by 2030
  • Implementation of Clean Fuel Regulations
  • Investing in public transit and making zero emission vehicles more affordable and accessible
  • Released of proposed regulations for regulated ZEVs sales target
  • Reducing emissions from the electricity sect and committed to achieve net-zero electricity grid
  • Committed to comprehensive action, including legislation, to support sustainable jobs
  • Reduced reliance on diesel in remote and Indigenous communities
  • Developing a path forward on capping oil and gas emissions
  • Supporting local climate action

The Government of Canada is committed to building a cleaner and more prosperous future for Canada – reducing Canada’s greenhouse gases and promoting clean technological solutions

The Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act

2030 Emissions Reduction Plan

Written submissions received from provinces and territories, Indigenous Partners, the Net-Zero Advisory Body, stakeholders, and Canadians are reflected throughout the 2030 ERP.

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Canada’s Emissions Reduction Plan for 2030 and pathway to 2050

The 2030 ERP provides clear policy signals on how the government intends to achieve its 2030 decarbonization goal, including a focus on reductions in key sectors.

  • Buildings
    • Transitioning Canada's building stock to net zero over the long term creates new opportunities to promote a low-carbon supply chain, adopt net-zero energy ready building codes, transform space and water heating, improve affordability through energy efficiency, and accelerate private financing and workforce development to support the transition.
  • Electricity
    • Working towards net-zero electricity by 2035 will expand non-emitting energy across Canada, connects regions to clean power, and foster more clean, and affordable electricity supply. It will also help reduce emissions from other sectors, such as industry, buildings, and transportation.
  • Heavy industry
    • Emissions reductions will come from efforts to decarbonize large emitters and strengthening Canada's mining sector. Enhancing clean growth in the sector will create new job opportunities, enhance Canada's industrial low-carbon advantage in global markets, and create investment opportunities in Canadian clean technologies.
  • Oil and Gas
    • There is an opportunity to transform the sector into the cleanest global oil and gas producer, while also moving to provide low-carbon and non-emitting energy products and services in a manner that will ensure economic competitiveness, prosperity, and create good jobs for Canadians.
  • Transportation
    • Actions to reduce emissions will enable cleaner public transit, more active transportation, make ZEVs more affordable and accessible, and provide cleaner modes of air, marine and rail travel. Efforts will also create new jobs in areas like ZEV manufacturing and public transit construction.
  • Agriculture
    • Enhancing climate action will create opportunities to leverage agricultural lands to store carbon, stimulate the adoption of new, clean technologies on farms, and support farmers in adopting greener, on-farm practices to reduce emissions.
  • Waste
    • Decreasing emissions from waste brings new opportunities for job creation and local economic transformation. Moving towards a circular economy can also increase the value of waste emissions through transforming raw material into fertilizers and renewable energy.
  • Nature-Based Solutions
    • Efforts to protect, manage and restore Canada's lands and waters will reduce emissions while bringing co-benefits to society, like cleaner air, better climate resilience and protection for communities from climate risks, and more opportunities for Canadians to enjoy nature.
  • Economy-wide
    • Economy-wide strategies to reduce emissions, like carbon pricing, clean fuels, and reducing methane emission, will enable Canada to reduce emissions in the most flexible and cost-effective way. They will also provide policy certainty to businesses and Canadians, allowing everyone to make more informed decisions as Canada’s economy decarbonizes.
  • Clean Tech and Climate Innovation
    • Actions to advance Canadian clean technology and innovation will not only help to reduce emissions but will allow Canada to secure a foothold in the rapidity growing global clean tech market, and create jobs and investment opportunities across the economy, from emerging high-tech industries to long-standing sectors like energy, resource development and manufacturing.
  • Sustainable Finance
    • Enhancing sustainable finance will leverage the expertise of Canada's financial sector to crowd-in and guide the private sector capital needed to finance the transition to a net-zero emissions economy, as well as promote financial stability related to climate risk.
  • Skills and People-Centred Transition
    • Taking action to reduce emissions will position Canada and Canadians to become leaders in clean energy, clean technology, natural resources management, nature-based solutions, agri-food, and more. This will mean opportunities for workers to obtain new jobs and start new businesses, and to enhance their skillsets to be on the leading edge of the global transition to a net-zero emissions economy. Transitioning to sustainable jobs is also an opportunity to advance equity, inclusion, and justice, and address current barriers to representation in certain industries.

Key measures and strategies – 2030 ERP

The 2030 ERP invests $9.1 B in a suite of measures and strategies across all sectors of the economy. Key investments include:

Canada’s pathway to 2030

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Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions pathway to 2030, measured in megatons of carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt CO2 eq)  
Economic sector 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024 2025 2026 2027 2028 2029 2030
LULUCF, NBCS and Agriculture (removal) -8 -10 -11 -11 -10 -12 -14 -16 -19 -22 -26 -30
LULUCF, NBCS and Agriculture (emissions) 73 72 73 73 73 73 73 73 73 72 72 71
Waste 28 28 28 27 26 24 23 22 20 19 18 16
Others 24 22 21 21 20 19 17 16 16 15 14 13
Electricity 61 52 43 42 36 31 29 30 26 22 18 14
Buildings 91 85 84 82 80 76 73 71 6 65 62 53
Heavy industry 77 69 71 73 72 70 66 61 58 56 55 52
Oil and gas 191 179 182 181 177 173 170 163 154 144 128 110
Transportation 186 162 168 171 174 174 168 165 162 156 151 143
Total 723 659 659 660 646 627 605 584 558 527 492 443

Canada’s interim objective will be 20% below 2005 levels by 2026. Existing and new measures profiled in the 2030 ERP position Canada to achieve the lower-bound of its 2030 target (40%). Broken down by sector, Canada’s pathway to 2030 is based on today’s understanding of the potential for each sector to reduce emissions by 2030.

Canada’s pathway to net-zero by 2050

Source: Canada’s Long Term Strategy Submission to the UNFCCC (2022)

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This figure is titled “Canada Emissions 2005-2020 – All Scenarios”. It presents the range of pathways each sector (agriculture, industry, buildings, electricity, transportation, waste, direct air capture, and LULUCF) takes to 2050 in all modelled scenarios, with shaded parts representing the bands in emissions pathways for each key sector. This figure demonstrates there are numerous pathways with a wide range of possibilities to achieving net-zero emissions in Canada. While these bands in emission pathways do not represent an exhaustive list of possible pathways, they are helpful in identifying general trends.

Net-Zero Advisory Body

National Adaptation Strategy

front cover page of Canada’s National Adaptation Strategy released for final comment

Provides an overarching vision for resilience in Canada

All of us living in Canada, our communities, and the natural environment are resilient in the face of a changing climate. Our collective adaptation actions enhance our well-being and safety, promote justice, equity, and reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples, and secure a thriving natural environment and economy for future generations.

  • Underpinned by guiding principles for fair, inclusive, and equitable adaptation
    1. Respect jurisdictions and uphold Indigenous rights
    2. Advance equity and environmental justice
    3. Take proactive, risk-based measures to reduce climate impacts before they occur
    4. Maximize benefits and avoid maladaptation
  • Establishes transformational goals, objectives, and targets under five key systems: Health and Wellbeing, Nature and Biodiversity, Disaster Resilience, Economy and Workers, and Infrastructure.
A graph that shows how all the systems of the National Adaptation Strategy are intertwined. The systems include Nature and Biodiversity; Disaster Resilience; Economy and Workers; Infrastructure; and Health and Wellbeing.

National Adaptation Strategy: Implementation

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A graph that shows how the three action plans to implement Canada’s National Adaptation Strategy are interconnected. They include the Government of Canada Adaptation Action Plan, the Indigenous Climate Leadership initiative, and the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Bilateral Action Plans.

Government of Canada Adaptation Action Plan (GOCAAP)

  • The federal contribution to implement the National Adaptation Strategy, released November 24, 2022, is an inventory of Government of Canada measures that will contribute to National Adaptation Strategy goals, objectives, and targets.
  • Includes new ($1.6 billion for new measures) and existing investments and programming ($4.9 billion spent since 2011).
  • Clarifies and outlines the federal role in meeting adaptation goals and objectives and includes 68 actions across 22 federal departments and agencies
  • To be updated at least every 5 years.

Indigenous Climate Leadership (ICL)

  • Transitioning to a partnership model to advance self-determined climate actions (including adaptation) by First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation.
  • Continue to support Indigenous adaptation action while co-development of ICL is ongoing.

FPT Bilateral Action Plans

  • Focused on alignment, coordination and implementation of shared federal, provincial and territorial priorities.
  • To establish bilateral mechanisms to support PT priorities under the NAS.

Canada’s climate policy context

Constructive engagement on the world stage

Canada contributes to the global agenda through:

Success requires effective partnerships

Provinces and territories
Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment, bilateral engagement

Indigenous Peoples
Distinctions-based Senior Bilateral Tables with National Indigenous Organizations (First Nations, Inuit, Métis)

Other interested parties
Municipalities, non-governmental organizations, industry, small & medium-sized enterprises, scientific community

International partners
Multilateral and bilateral engagement

Federal partners
Over 20 departments and agencies

ECCC-led climate efforts

Climate policies, programs, and services

Climate Change Branch

Robust climate science

Science and Technology Branch

International climate negotiations and financing

International Affairs Branch

Economic analysis

Strategic Policy Branch

Legislative & regulatory approaches to climate change

Environmental Protection Branch

Next steps

Key legislative and priority deliverables

Regulations and programs

Events and reports

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