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Emissions Reduction Plan: On the Road to 2030

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April 14, 2022

Recently, Canada released its Emissions Reduction Plan. It marks a milestone in our nation’s climate history. For the very first time, we laid out a clear path, step by step, to reach our 2030 emissions reduction targets under the Paris Agreement. Doing so now is a message to the world:  climate change won’t go away as we address the crisis in Ukraine and the global pandemic. Leadership demands tackling these crises while building for the future.

Canada’s 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan, published on March 29, 2022, is the first plan issued under the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Act, which enshrined into law the mandatory publication of strategies to cut emissions by 40-to-45% below 2005 levels by 2030 and reach net-zero emissions by 2050. Spanning sectors across the economy, it includes CAD$9.1 billion in new investments and builds on pioneering climate policies developed since the launch of the Paris Agreement in 2015, including a price on pollution, zero-emission vehicle sales targets and incentives, and methane regulations.

The scientific and economic imperative to reduce emissions is clear, as we saw in the IPCC report released April 4, 2022. As countries and businesses around the world race to transform their operations to net-zero emissions, it is critical that Canada be part of the transition. Canada is uniquely positioned to be a global leader in this century of climate mitigation and adaptation thanks to our abundant natural resources, a highly skilled workforce and a strong financial system. Canada is also uniquely positioned thanks to its relationship with the U.S… Geographic, historical, economic and environmental: ours is a partnership intertwined by time, proximity and shared values, including in the fight against climate change.

The climate actions that Canada has committed to in its Emissions Reduction Plan will bolster existing work with the U.S. and help us reach common objectives. Chief among them is the reduction of emissions from the oil and gas sector. Competing in a carbon-constrained future means not only diversifying our energy mix but also offering lower-carbon oil and gas to the world. New measures in the Emissions Reduction Plan could help reduce emissions from our oil and gas sector by about 42% from current levels by 2030. This will guide Canada’s work to develop a cap on oil and gas sector emissions by next year. The cap will be designed to lower emissions at a pace and scale needed to achieve net-zero by mid-century and reduce oil and gas methane emissions by at least 75% by 2030. Not only will this support the U.S.-led Global Methane Pledge to reduce global emissions by 30% by 2030 and addresses the commitment made between President Biden and Prime Minister Trudeau to reduce oil and gas methane emissions, it will help power American homes and businesses with cleaner fuels. Canada is the largest supplier of energy to the U.S., supplying 61% of its crude oil imports in 2021 and 98% of its natural gas imports in 2020. Cutting emissions from oil and gas production in Canada will necessarily have a material downstream impact south of the border.

Also supporting lower emissions and greener energy consumption in the U.S. is Canada’s commitment to develop a Clean Electricity Standard and increasing investments in emerging technologies like geothermal and tidal power, small modular reactors, carbon capture, utilization and storage, and electricity storage. Canada is the leading supplier of electricity to the U.S., supplying 93% of its imports in 2020 and helping power millions of homes, businesses and cities from coast to coast. These actions will help both countries reach their objectives of achieving a net-zero carbon pollution free power sector by 2035.

Yet another action in the Emissions Reduction Plan that will benefit U.S. energy and environment priorities is Canada’s commitment to strengthen its mining sector while reducing emissions, including by improving the resilience of critical mineral supply chains. In February 2021, President Biden and Prime Minister Trudeau agreed to strengthen the existing Canada-U.S. Critical Minerals Action plan under the Roadmap for a Renewed Partnership. Canada and the U.S. mine and produce many of the minerals essential to technological and environmental progress, like lithium, cobalt, graphite and manganese. Solidifying and expanding these supply chains in the region will reduce reliance on foreign actors like Russia while positioning Canada and the U.S. as global leaders in the development of clean technologies, like batteries for zero-emissions vehicles and renewable energy storage.

The 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan is the next major step in taking action to address climate change and creating job opportunities in Canada. From transportation and oil and gas to heavy industry, agriculture, buildings and waste, every sector has a role to play in meeting Canada’s 2030 targets. But our actions echo beyond our borders, and as we navigate international security crises, a global pandemic and, of course, a changing climate, we will continue to walk this road with our closest neighbour and ally, the U.S.

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