Canada lays out C$9.1 bln roadmap to meet 2030 climate targets

3 minute read
Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

March 29 (Reuters) - Canada released its first real roadmap to meeting 2030 climate targets on Tuesday, laying out detailed plans and C$9.1 billion ($7.3 billion) in new spending to cut planet-warming carbon emissions after years failing to meet its goals.

The Emissions Reduction Plan (ERP) is the first time Canada has had a comprehensive plan, rather than just a collection of policies, setting out how it will meet its international commitment to cut carbon emissions 40-45% below 2005 levels by 2030.

Environmental think tanks called it a "watershed moment" for Canadian climate policy, but warned Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government needed to follow through.

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

"A plan is just a plan without action. Expedited implementation will be key to success, and Canada now needs to shift into high gear," said Rick Smith, president of the Canadian Climate Institute.

Canada has missed every emissions reduction target it has ever set but Trudeau said fighting climate change was one of his government's top priorities during last year's election campaign, and a recent deal with the opposition New Democrats should ensure the passage of climate legislation for the next three years.

Key measures include a zero-emissions vehicle mandate that is more ambitious than anything proposed by Canada's neighbor the United States, and a target for reducing emissions from the oil and gas sector 42% below current levels by 2030. Factbox of key measures: read more

The ERP was introduced under the requirements of Canada's Net-Zero Accountability Act, which the government adopted last summer in a bid to produce more binding climate policies.

The country is the world's fourth largest oil producer and 10th largest carbon emitter. The oil and gas industry is its highest polluting industry, followed by transportation.

Greenhouse gas emissions from the oil and gas sector have risen for the last two decades, meaning the 42% cut from current levels will only amount to a 31% cut from 2005 levels.

That lower target for the oil and gas sector means other parts of the economy will have to make deeper emissions cuts if Canada is to hit its overall 40-45% reduction goal, said Simon Dyer, deputy executive director of the Pembina Institute.

"We believe the oil and gas sector has the ability to do more, and do its fair share," Dyer said.

Trudeau said the emissions targets had to be realisable as well as ambitious and the electricity sector, for example, would be making much bigger cuts.

"Different sectors have different expectations...Canadians have had far too long of targets that have been set, but not achieved," Trudeau told a news conference in Vancouver.

The ERP set an interim goal of cutting planet warming carbon emissions 20% below 2005 levels by 2026. While not an official target like the 2030 objective, the 2026 goal will be a major measure of whether Canada is on track.

The government is also introducing a mandate that 60% of light-duty vehicles sold in 2030 must be zero-emissions, rising to 100% by 2035.

Those targets put Canada "among the pack of leading jurisdictions" in terms of zero-emission vehicle mandates, said Merran Smith, executive director of Clean Energy Canada.

In the United States, the Biden administration so far has declined to set a firm deadline for phasing out sales of combustion vehicles. Instead, President Joe Biden has set a target for 50% of new cars and light trucks sold in the United States to be electric by 2030.

($1 = 1.2494 Canadian dollars)

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com
Editing by Alistair Bell

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.