Canada Canada

Canada drops two places in this year’s CCPI, ranking 60th.

Its performance rates very low overall, with very low in the GHG Emissions, Renewable Energy, and Energy Use categories, and low for Climate Policy.

The CCPI country experts regard the entering into law of Canada’s 2050 net zero target in 2021 as fundamental for the country’s long-term climate ambition. It also signals a significant shift in climate ambition. While policy still lacks coherence for delivery and for achieving the target, detailed plans are on the way. Carbon pricing, the need for which there is general consensus, should be complemented by enhanced ambition across all other policy areas for emissions to decline. Canada has committed to reducing fossil fuel subsidies and emissions from oil extraction, but these remain an issue (with neither GHG per capita nor the GHG 2030 target aligned with a well-below-2°C benchmark).

The experts emphasise the oil and gas industry as the major block to more ambitious climate policy. The crosscutting nature of energy policy in federal and provincial politics serves as a barrier to better policy making. Although Canada is working to phase out coal (and will not approve new thermal coal mines), it plans to support and encourage deployment of fossil fuel-based carbon capture and storage (CCS) and hydrogen. The experts believe more should be done to promote renewables, deep energy retrofits for buildings, and electrification of transport, with a shorter-term commitment to decarbonising the electricity grid in the 2030s (the Share of Renewable Energy in Energy Use indicator was rated medium, and rated very low compared to a well-below-2°C benchmark).

Canada continues to play an important role in international climate policy (rated medium this year for that indicator). Its membership in the Powering Past Coal Alliance is important for wider climate diplomacy, and the experts highlight its constructive contributions in the G7 and G20 on higher climate ambition, targets for limiting global warming to 1.5°C, and increasing climate finance contributions. Canada also used the 2021 G7 in the UK to announce a doubling of its climate finance contribution.

The following national experts agreed to be mentioned as contributors for this year’s CCPI: Alain Brunel (AQLPA); Eddy Perez (Climate Action Network); Mitchell Beer (The Energy Mix)

Technical note: how to read the target comparison graph

The graph above shows the development of a country over the past years compared with its Paris compatible pathway and 2030 target. For all three quantitative categories of the CCPI, this visualisation gives an overview of where a country is right now, where it would need to be to fulfil the Paris Agreement promises and where it aims to be in 2030.

For GHG emissions per capita, the data includes LULUCF, as used for the emissions per capita indicator. This leads to the vast changes in emissions of some countries with high forest coverage. The calculation of individual country target pathways is based on the common but differentiated convergence approach (CDC). It is based on the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities” laid forth in the Framework Convention on Climate Change. All Annex I countries therefore have a decreasing pathway from 1990 onwards, starting at that year’s emissions. 60 years later, in 2050, these countries are expected to reach net zero emissions. All other countries, which did not reach the level of global average emissions in 1990, are allowed to increase emissions until the average is reached. But by latest 2015 these countries, too, have decreasing pathways and 60 years to reach net zero. These pathways start from the global average.

The Renewable Energy data is given in per cent of Total Primary Energy Supply (TPES) and includes hydro energy, consistent with the respective CCPI indicator. As global distribution of Renewables (especially solar and wind) only started in the 2000s, the pathways in this category start in 2010. All countries have an equal goal: 100% Renewables in 2050, each starting from its 2010 value.

For Energy Use the Primary Energy Supply per capita is shown. All pathways for this category start at country’s 1990 values and meet at global average of 80 gigajoules per capita in TPES. For 2°C and 1.5°C scenarios, a decrease in emissions by reducing the (growth in) energy use is as crucial as deploying renewable (or other low-carbon) technologies. The IPCC carried out a scenario comparison using a large number of integrated assessment models. From the scenarios available, we observe that the total amount of global energy use in 2050 has to be roughly the same level or a bit higher than it is today, with a margin of uncertainty. At the same time population will grow slightly between today and 2050. We therefore pragmatically chose the well-below-2° compatible benchmark to be “same energy use per capita in 2050 as the current global average”, which is 80 gigajoules per capita in TPES.