Canada's Current Targets
Unfortunately the target in Canada's Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) still matches the Harper-era target (30% by 2030). However, it is possible to strengthen the targets at any time according to Article 4 of the Paris Agreement: "A Party may at any time adjust its existing nationally determined contribution with a view to enhancing its level of ambition, in accordance with guidance adopted by the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement."
On 15 May 2015, Canada submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) (pdf), proposing an economy-wide target to reduce GHG emissions to 30% below 2005 levels by 2030. Canada has indicated that it may also use international credits to meet its target. Considering the upward trajectory of the current policy projection against the pledge trajectory, Canada would need to use a large quantity of international credits to meet its target.
Canada intends to use a “net-net” approach to account for LULUCF emissions and a production approach to account for harvested wood products. Accounting for Harvested Wood Products (HWPs) must be performed in a consistent and compatible manner across countries so that accounting of imported and exported HWPs is complete and emissions are not excluded from inventories. It excludes emissions from natural disturbances (e.g. forest fires and insect outbreaks).
In its INDC communication, Canada does not quantify the impact of these accounting rules on the emissions level for compliance in 2030. According to our best estimate based on available data, the net-net accounting approach will generate 126 MtCO2e of credits for Canada in 2030 (see assumptions for further details). Using LULUCF credits weakens the INDC, as these credits can be used to offset emissions increases in other sectors such as energy and industry. We estimate this target is a reduction of 13% below 2005 levels of industrial GHG emissions . This is equivalent to an increase of 8% above 1990 levels.
If Canada follows the path of the targets in our NDC, we will exceed the population-based share of the global carbon budget for remaining under 2 degrees C before 2020 and under 3 degrees C before 2040.
Canada's NDC states, "Canada may also use international mechanisms to achieve the target, subject to robust systems that deliver real and verified emissions reductions." Canada seems to believe in market-based solutions to our otherwise inadequate targets.
Does this mean financing mitigation, adaptation and loss and damage in developing countries? According to Civil Society Equity Review:
As a supplement to their domestic INDC’s, each developed country party should set a target to provide the means of implementation to developing countries to address the emissions reductions gap. Developed countries should pledge to work with developing countries to implement the additional actions that are needed. Significantly scaled-up public finance for adaptation and to address loss and damage are also imperative, given the significant impacts that are already being felt, and the escalating impacts that are expected.