Pembina Institute submission to the federal-provincial-territorial climate change working groups
Policy options to meet or exceed Canada’s 2030 emissions target
Policy development context
In December 2015, more than 190 nations adopted the Paris Agreement — a legally binding international agreement that aims to limit long-term global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.1 The Paris Agreement expressly demonstrates a near-global consensus on the urgent need to transition to a low-carbon economy. Building on the success of COP21, 175 nations signed the Paris Agreement on its opening day at the UN headquarters in New York City on April 22. That these nations came together to re-affirm the Agreement at the UN demonstrates global political will never before seen on this issue. Canada, for its part, signed the Paris Agreement on opening day and has committed to ratifying the Agreement in the fall of 2016.
In March 2015, prior to the Paris conference, the Government of Canada submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Canada’s INDC commits the country to an economy-wide greenhouse gas reduction goal of 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. Nearly one year later, in March 2016, Prime Minister Trudeau and Canada’s provincial and territorial premiers met in Vancouver to discuss climate change mitigation and economic development strategies to promote clean growth of the economy — a meeting that culminated in the Vancouver Declaration on Clean Growth and Climate Change. The Vancouver Declaration contained, for the first time, political consensus across all members of the Canadian federation on the need for Canada to live up to its international climate obligations. Specifically, the prime minister and premiers committed to “implement GHG mitigation policies in support of meeting or exceeding Canada’s 2030 target […] including specific provincial and territorial targets and objectives” and to “increase the level of ambition of environmental policies over time […], consistent with the Paris Agreement”.6 Importantly, Canada’s first ministers noted that such policies represent an opportunity for Canada to build a strong and diverse economy, and to promote long-term economic growth.