Canada's Fourth Biennial Report on Climate Change

Canada is pleased to present its Fourth Biennial Report to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

For the complete report, please visit the UNFCCC website.

Since Canada’s last National Communication and Biennial ReportFootnote 1 , Canada has continued to implement its national climate change plan, the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change (the Pan-Canadian Framework), and work towards reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across the economy. Canada welcomes this opportunity to highlight its international emission reduction targets, as well as ongoing mitigation efforts, emissions trends and projections, and international climate finance contributions.

The Pan-Canadian Framework was adopted on December 9, 2016 as Canada’s plan to take ambitious action to fight climate change, build resilience to a changing climate, and drive clean economic growth. It is the first climate change plan in Canada’s history to include joint and individual commitments by federal, provincial and territorial levels of government, and to have been developed with input from Indigenous Peoples, businesses, non-governmental organizations, and Canadians from across the country. The Pan-Canadian Framework is built on four pillars: pricing carbon pollution, complementary actions to reduce emissions across the economy, adaptation and climate resilience, and clean technology, innovation, and jobs. It includes more than fifty concrete actions that cover all sectors of the Canadian economy, and puts Canada on a path towards meeting our Paris Agreement GHG emissions reduction target of 30% below 2005 levels by 2030.

Canada’s most recent GHG emissions projections estimate that Canada’s GHG emissions in 2030 will be 227 million tonnes lower than projected prior to the Pan-Canadian Framework or 19% below 2005 levels. This improvement, equivalent to approximately a third of Canada's emissions in 2005, is widespread across all economic sectors, reflecting the breadth and the depth of the Pan-Canadian Framework.

Building on the success of the Pan-Canadian Framework, Canada’s federal government announced in December of 2019 that it will set a target to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.  This will include setting legally-binding, five-year emissions-reduction milestones based on advice of experts and consultations with Canadians. This ambitious goal will be supported by a continued commitment to ensuring a price on carbon pollution is in place everywhere in Canada, as well as prioritization of measures including green buildings and communities, support for zero-emission vehicles, clean electricity, clean technology, and nature-based climate solutions.  This includes a specific commitment to planting 2 billion trees in the coming years. Canada is determined to meet and exceed its Paris Agreement target.

Since Canada’s climate plan was adopted, the Government of Canada has continued to provide national leadership and to partner with provincial and territorial governments, and to work with municipal governments, as well as Indigenous Peoples, businesses, civil society, and Canadians to address climate change both domestically and internationally to make the transition towards a clean economy.

This report provides an update of key actions that Canada has taken to drive down GHGs and achieve its 2020 and 2030 mitigation targets since Canada’s last National Communication and Biennial Report, published at the end of 2017.

For example, Canada now has a price on carbon pollution across the country. In 2018, the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act was passed. Carbon pollution pricing systems are now in place in all provinces and territories across Canada (either provincial/territorial systems or the federal system).

In addition, federal, provincial, and territorial governments continued to make progress on implementing a host of complementary actions to reduce GHG emissions. This includes significant developments in the electricity sector, with new federal regulations to phase-out coal-fired electricity by 2030. These regulations will not only lower GHG emissions, but will also contribute to improved health outcomes for Canadians and ecosystems through improved air quality. In the industrial sector, regulations to phase down the consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) entered into force. These regulations aim to reduce the supply of HFCs that enter Canada and the demand for HFCs in manufactured products, thereby averting future HFC releases to the environment.

Governments also made significant investments to increase renewable energy capacity; expand green, resilient infrastructure; support zero or low-emitting transportation; and harness mitigation opportunities within the agriculture, forestry, and waste sectors. For example, federal, and some provincial, governments pursued measures to increase the number of zero-emission vehicles on the road, including expanding charging infrastructure and introducing purchase incentives. Additionally, with a view to identifying further mitigation opportunities in the building and transportation sectors, the federal government struck the Advisory Council on Climate Action, which published its final report in May 2019. Also in 2019, the Task Force on Just Transition for Canadian Coal Power Workers and Communities provided recommendations to support the transition of coal workers and communities affected by the move from coal-fired to cleaner electricity.

Work has also been advanced to reduce emissions in the oil and gas sector, Canada’s largest source of emissions. New federal regulations to reduce methane emissions will enter into force on January 1, 2020. A number of provinces have also been working to reduce emissions from this sector though new technologies and standards.

At the same time, investments continued to support the development of clean technology, which will complement and help achieve the reductions targeted by various mitigation measures in addition to bringing Canadian technologies to expanding global markets and equipping Canada’s workforce with the knowledge and skills to succeed.

In 2015, in support of the Paris Agreement, Canada pledged $2.65 billion over five years in climate finance to pursue ambitious action on climate change in developing countries. Canada is delivering on its commitment by implementing concrete initiatives through various multilateral and bilateral partners. Through its climate finance, Canada also helps to empower women and girls through climate action and mobilizes private-sector capital to address climate change.

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