Net-Zero Emissions by 2050
The transition to a cleaner, prosperous economy needs to be both an immediate priority and a sustained effort over the years and decades ahead. Canada must keep innovating to meet this long-term goal, strengthening and building on existing measures that fight climate change and transform the economy.
To avert the worst impacts of climate change, the Government of Canada is committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.
This goal will require support and engagement from all parts of society, including provinces and territories, cities, Indigenous Peoples, youth, and businesses.
What is Net-Zero?
Achieving net-zero emissions means our economy either emits no greenhouse gas emissions or offsets its emissions, for example, through actions such as tree planting or employing technologies that can capture carbon before it is released into the air. This is essential to keeping the world safe and livable for our kids and grandkids.
Canada has joined over 120 countries in committing to be net-zero emissions by 2050, including all other G7 nations (United Kingdom, United States, Germany, Italy, France, and Japan), A number of provinces and cities have already made net-zero-by-2050 commitments, including Guelph, Vancouver, Hamilton, Toronto, Halifax, Newfoundland and Labrador, and most recently Quebec. Prince Edward Island has also pledged to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040. Nova Scotia and British Columbia have put into place, or plan to put into place, provincial net-zero-by-2050 legislation.
Canada’s plan to reach Net-Zero
The Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act, which became law on June 29, 2021, enshrines in legislation Canada’s commitment to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. The Act ensures transparency and accountability as the government works to deliver on its targets. The Act requires public participation and independent advice to guide the Government of Canada’s efforts.
2030 Emissions Reduction Plan: Clean Air, Strong Economy
Building on the actions in Canada’s strengthened climate plan (2020), and the Pan-Canadian Framework (2016), the 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan (2022) provides a roadmap to how Canada will meet its enhanced Paris Agreement target to reduce emissions by 40-45% from 2005 levels by 2030.
The Government of Canada published the country’s 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan in March 2022. The plan reflects input from provinces, territories, Indigenous Peoples, the Net-Zero Advisory Body, and interested Canadians on what is needed to reach Canada’s more ambitious climate target of 40-45% emissions reductions by 2030.
Bar chart titled Projected Canadian GHG emissions in 2030 based on a scale of 0 to 900 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, showing four different columns. A dotted line stretches over the chart representing the 2005 GHG emission level set at 741 million tonnes. A second dotted line stretches over the chart representing the 2020 GHG emission level set at 672 million tonnes
The first column represents projected emissions in 2030 before Canada’s climate plans were published, which is 12% above the 2005 GHG emission level of 741 million tonnes.
The second column, represents the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change; there is a reduction of 19% from the 2005 GHG emission level.
The third column, represents the Pan-Canadian Framework and Strengthened Climate Plan; there is a reduction of 31% from the 2005 GHG emission level.
The fourth column, represent new measures and strategies from the 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan that build on the Pan-Canadian Framework (2016) and Strengthened Climate Plan (2020) which projects a 40% reduction from 2005 GHG emission level.
Net-Zero Advisory Body
The Net-Zero Advisory Body (NZAB) was launched in February 2021. With up to 15 members that bring together relevant experience and knowledge, the Advisory Body provides independent advice to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change that supports achieving Canada’s net-zero target.
In November 2021, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and the Minister of Natural Resources asked the Net-Zero Advisory Body to provide advice on guiding principles to inform the development of quantitative five-year targets for caps on emissions from the oil and gas sector. This advice will support the achievement of the Government’s commitment to capping and cutting emissions from the sector at the pace and scale needed to get to net zero by 2050.
Net-Zero Accelerator Fund
As part of Canada’s plan, the Government of Canada has launched the $8 billion Net-Zero Accelerator Fund to help large emitters reduce their emissions.
For example, Algoma Steel Inc. is receiving up to $420 million from the Fund to retrofit its operations and phase out coal-fired steelmaking processes at its facility in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. This will create 500 jobs and reduce emissions by 3 million tonnes per year by 2030.
The Net-Zero Challenge
Companies operating in Canada have an essential role to play in helping the country achieve net-zero emissions. The Net-Zero Challenge is a voluntary initiative that encourages businesses to develop and implement credible and effective plans to transition their facilities and operations to net-zero emissions by 2050. Any Canadian company or business can join the Net-Zero Challenge.
- Launching the Net-Zero Challenge to recognize and support businesses transitioning to cleaner operations (August 26, 2022)
- Canada to launch consultations on new climate commitments this month, establish Emissions Reduction Plan by the end of March 2022 (December 3, 2021)
- Canada’s Achievements at COP26 (November 24, 2021)
- Government of Canada confirms ambitious new greenhouse gas emissions reduction target (July 12, 2021)
- Government of Canada legislates climate accountability with first net-zero emissions law (June 30, 2021)
- Canada Joins U.S. in Establishing Net-Zero Producers Forum (April 23, 2021)
- Prime Minister Trudeau announces increased climate ambition (April 22, 2021)
- The Government of Canada announces experts for independent net-zero advisory body (February 25, 2021)
- Prime Minister announces Canada’s strengthened climate plan to protect the environment, create jobs, and support communities (December 11, 2020)
- Government of Canada charts course for clean growth by introducing bill to legislate net-zero emissions by 2050 (November 19, 2020)
- Report: Canada’s Net Zero Future: Finding Our Way in the Global Transition (February 5, 2020)
- First comprehensive modelling report by the publicly-funded, non-partisan, independently-governed Canadian Institute for Climate Choices on how Canada can achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
- Success Stories: Climate action by communities and businesses
- Strategic Assessment of Climate Change – new major projects with a lifetime beyond 2050 are required to have a credible plan that outlines how they will achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
- Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act
- Canada’s Net-Zero Advisory Body
- Strengthened Climate Plan: A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy
- LAC-Ottawa Public Library Joint Facility: Government of Canada provides net zero carbon funding
- Government of Canada announces commitment to build Canada's clean industrial advantage
- Greening Government Strategy: A Government of Canada Directive
- The Government of Canada is leading by example on combatting climate change
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