Canada's Targets

Canada's Pan-Canadian Framework (PCF) emission reduction targets still match the Harper-era target for 2030 (30% below 2005 levels.) However, according to Article 4 of the Paris Agreement, it is possible to strengthen the targets

"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."

If Canada follows the path of our targets, Canada's cumulative emissions will exceed the population-based share of the global carbon budget for remaining under 1.5 degrees C before 2025.

According to "Perspectives on Climate Change Action in Canada—A Collaborative Report from Auditors General—March 2018":

More than half the governments did not have overall targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and of those that did, only two (New Brunswick and Nova Scotia) were on track to meet their targets.

Ontario and Quebec are members of a cap-and-trade system which includes California. Ontario, Quebec, and California have agreed to develop and implement a mechanism for accounting and reporting such reductions.

The current Ontario government has cancelled our participation in the cap-and-trade system.

It is Climate Action Now's position that:

Given the urgency of reducing our emissions, climate action is critical and must take precedence over economic development.

According to the World Resources Institute (WRI):

Among the top 10 absolute emitters, only two have per capita emissions that are below the world average. Canada, the United States, and Russia emit more than double the global average per person. On the other end of the spectrum, India’s per capita emissions are only one-third of the global average.

Moreover, the EU and the United States will achieve their targets without using international market mechanisms, while Canada has indicated it may use such mechanisms – to an unstated extent – to meet its goal. This means that Canada’s reductions undertaken domestically may not reach the level of its stated target. This is also important due to the risk that reductions achieved under these mechanisms could be double-counted by both buyers and sellers.

In 2016, Canada's annual per-capita emissions (20 tonnes) were higher than those of the US, Russia and most other developed countries (for some reason, WRI did not include Australia).

Our charts illustrate Canada's PCF emission reduction targets and the major differences between them and what is necessary to meet the IPCC target for 1.5C. They represent what the necessary emission reductions need to be for Canada's population and emissions shares of the global carbon budgets. Meeting either of these sharing targets will require more ambitious targets than either the IPCC or PCF targets.

According to Climate Action Tracker:

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.

Canada's Nationally Determined Contribution (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.