As a vast Northern nation, Canada faces unique challenges in addressing climate change: a growing population, extreme temperatures, a large landmass, and a diversified, growing economy with significant natural resources are some of the circumstances influencing Canadian greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Despite these challenges, Canada has one of the cleanest electricity systems in the world, with almost 80% of our electricity supply already emitting no GHGs.
Canada plans to reduce its GHG emissions by 30% below 2005 levels by 2030.
This is a fair and ambitious target that is in line with other major industrialized countries and reflects our national circumstances, including Canada's position as a world leader in clean-electricity generation. Canada has formally submitted its target, referred to as an intended Nationally Determined Contribution, to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change well in advance of the upcoming Conference of the Parties meeting in Paris in December 2015.
Canada has already undertaken decisive actions domestically to reduce our emissions:
- In 2013, Canada's GHG emissions were 3.1% lower than 2005 levels while the economy grew by 12.9% over the same time period.
- Canada's per capita GHG emissions have fallen to their lowest levels since tracking began while the economy continues to grow.
- The Government is implementing its responsible sector-by-sector regulatory approach to reduce emissions and has already taken action on two of the largest sources of emissions in Canada – the transportation and coal-fired electricity sectors.
- As a result of our regulations for coal-fired electricity:
- Canada became the first major coal-user to ban the construction of traditional coal-fired electricity generation units. Our regulations also require the phase-out of existing coal-fired units without carbon capture and storage.
- In the first 21 years, Canada's coal regulations are expected to result in a cumulative reduction in GHG emissions of about 214 megatonnes (Mt) - the equivalent of removing 2.6 million personal vehicles from the road per year over this period.
- As a result of our regulations for the transportation sector:
- 2025 passenger vehicles and light trucks will emit about half as many GHGs as 2008 models.
- 2025 vehicles will also consume up to 50% less fuel than 2008 vehicles - leading to significant savings at the pump.
- GHG emissions from 2018 model-year heavy-duty vehicles will be reduced by up to 23%.
- The Government intends to bring forward regulations aligned with recently proposed actions in the United States to reduce the potent GHG methane from the oil-and-gas sector.
- The Government also intends to bring forward regulations to address GHG emissions from chemicals and fertilizers production, as well as from natural gas-fired electricity generation.
- The Government has announced its final regulations establishing more stringent standards for cars and light trucks of model-year 2017 and beyond, its intention to regulate GHG emissions from post-2018 model year heavy-duty vehicles, and its intention to regulate hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are the most potent and fastest-growing GHGs in the world.
- Significant investments have also been made in research and development to achieve long-term emissions reductions. Since 2006, the Government of Canada has invested more than $10 billion in green infrastructure, energy efficiency, clean energy technologies, cleaner fuels and smarter grids.
Canada is a leader in clean-energy technologies and has made multiple investments to promote innovation and achieve long-term emissions reductions in key sectors. For example, emerging technologies and federal regulatory action have limited emissions in the transportation sector, despite growth in vehicle fleets. Similarly, emissions continue to fall in the electricity sector as a result of phasing out coal, switching to natural gas and growth in non-emitting electricity generation. To build on this success, Canada will focus climate-related investments in innovative technologies to drive further improvements in environmental performance in the oil sands and other growing sectors.
Canada will continue to take cooperative action with its continental trading partners, particularly the United States in areas where our economies are closely integrated, and will work towards further action in integrated sectors of the economy, including energy and transportation.
Canada believes that every country must do its part to address climate change and will continue to work with its international partners to advance collaborative efforts. With this contribution, Canada is affirming our continued commitment to develop an international climate change agreement that is fair, effective and includes meaningful and transparent commitments from all major emitters.