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Canada’s Approach to Tackling Climate Change. John M R Stone Carleton University Ottawa, Canada. The Challenge. Canada’s Kyoto target is a 6\% reduction in 1990 emissions (roughly 590 Mt CO 2 eq.) by 2008-12.

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canada s approach to tackling climate change

Canada’s Approach to Tackling Climate Change

John M R Stone

Carleton University

Ottawa, Canada

the challenge
The Challenge
  • Canada’s Kyoto target is a 6% reduction in 1990 emissions (roughly 590 Mt CO2 eq.) by 2008-12.
  • The difference between Canada’s business-as-usual projections of emissions and its Kyoto target is now estimated to be at least 270 Mt CO2 eq. - some 45% above Kyoto target).
  • Overall energy efficiency has improved by 13% since 1990.
  • Emissions have increased mainly because of larger than expected growth in the economy and in fossil fuel productions (particularly oil sands).
  • Much greater efforts clearly required.
MT CO2 - equivalent

Business-as-Usual Scenario


270 Mt







Kyoto target

six percent below 1990 level

some history
Some History
  • Canada has ratified the UN/FCCC and the Kyoto Protocol (one of the last acts of PM Jean Chretian).
  • Since 1998 the government has made incremental investments in climate change totaling some $Cdn 3.7 billion (a little less than half has been spent).
  • There have been several audits of these investments by Treasury Board, Auditor General of Canada and others (the results have been disappointing).
  • The government is undertaking a full review of existing programs.
  • Canadians have become cynical about climate change (a wait and see approach).
project green a plan for honouring canada s kyoto commitment
Project GreenA Plan for Honouring Canada’s Kyoto Commitment
  • Announced in the federal government budget in 2005.
  • Recognizes the need for a long-term approach to the threat of climate change:
    • transform the Canadian society and economy,
    • maintain technological and economic growth,
    • achieve sustainability.
  • Includes:
    • The Climate Fund
    • The Partnership Fund
    • Renewable Energy
    • Continuation of some existing Programs
  • Estimates of program potential are optimistic.
large final emitters
Large Final Emitters
  • Oil, gas, electricity generation, mining and manufacturing account for roughly 50% of Canadian emissions.
  • Previous approach using covenants back-stopped by legislation proved to be inadequate.
  • Cost to industry will be capped at $Cdn15 per tonne CO2 (honouring previous commitment).
  • New system will cover some 700 companies and is to achieve 45 Mt CO2 reductions.
  • Emission intensity approach: fixed process emissions receive a zero percent target; al other emissions are to be reduced by 15% maximum.
  • In-house reductions, purchases from other companies, domestic off-sets, international “green” credits and
    • technology investments (for expected post-2012 emission reductions) limited to 9Mt CO2,
    • Greenhouse Gas Technology Investment Fund.
  • Notice to use Canadian Environmental Protection Act has been gazetted
    • GHG’s to be added to list of controlled substances
    • Act created primarily to control “toxic” substances (communications issue).
  • Further consultations underway; unlikely to be in place by COP-11.
the climate fund
The Climate Fund
  • Purpose: To create a permanent institution for the purchase of emission reduction and removal credits on behalf of the government of Canada.
  • Minister of Environment will have authority to recognize eligible projects that go beyond BAU practices:
    • agricultural soil carbon enhancement;
    • improved forest management practices
    • more energy efficient urban and property development;
    • LFE’s that have surplus credits;……..
  • Government will purchase credits in a competitive process and retire them (credits can also be sold elsewhere).
  • Fund will invest in advance purchase of emission reductions from large strategic projects (where costs are expected to decline over time).
  • Fund will invest in internationally recognized “green” projects (through the CDM for example) – no “hot air” and majority of reductions in Canada.
  • Fund will have minimum of $Cdn 1 billion over five years and is expected to yield 75-115 Mt CO2 annually.
  • CEO now appointed.
partnership fund
Partnership Fund
  • Partnerships with Provinces and Territories as well as with private sector.
  • Projects that are important to both orders of government:
    • clean coal;
    • carbon dioxide capture and storage;
    • electricity infrastructure;
    • Inter-modal transport;………
  • Initially, $Cdn 250 million over five years and expected to yield some 55-85 MT CO2 annually.
renewable energy
Renewable Energy
  • Wind Power Production Incentive:
    • budget quadrupled to $Cdn20 million over 5 years;
    • target of additional 4000 MW
  • Renewable Power Production Incentive:
    • investment of $Cdn 97 million over 5 years;
    • target of additional 150 MW;
    • small hydro, biomass, tidal power;…….
    • tax measures (such as capital cost allowances) will also encourage co-generation, energy efficiency.
  • Expected to achieve some 15 Mt CO2 reductions annually.
post 2012 regimes canadian views
Post-2012 Regimes Canadian Views
  • Canada is now preparing for its Chairmanship of COP-11/MOP –1 in Montreal
    • Montreal Declaration (and Article 3.9)
  • Minister Dion’s Three I’s for Montreal Declaration:
    • Implement (the Kyoto Protocol…)
    • Improve (the CDM and address shortcomings of Kyoto…)
    • Innovate (new approaches to post-2012 regime).
  • Six key elements:
    • Canadian discussion paper
six key elements
Six Key Elements
  • Environmental Effectiveness
    • long-term framework and targets, real reductions, contribute to other environmental objectives, guided by science;
  • Broader Participation
    • allows for broadest participation, includes largest emitters, sectoral approach;
  • Sustainability
    • contribute to development goals of all countries, consistent with economic growth, mobilize private investment;
  • Strong Global Market
    • maximizes market forces, international carbon market;
  • Technology
    • deployment of existing technology, development of new transformative technologies, technology agreements, common standards;
  • Adaptation
    • mechanisms to assist developing countries, new funds, linkage to mitigation, other stresses, not just developing countries.
system of global sectoral strategies
System of Global Sectoral Strategies
  • attempt to integrate six elements…
  • targets for each sector (not necessarily emissions, technology agreements)…
  • shift the focus to markets and away from country targets (more open access)…
  • competitiveness and technology orientation…
  • multiple points of entry…
  • global investment funds (ODA, technology, adaptation)…
  • details still being developed
some considerations
Some Considerations
  • Canadian credibility in providing leadership (emission record, lack of carbon market,...)
  • Legacy of Montreal – what should it be?
  • Parallel initiatives (UN/FCCC, G-8, Asia-Pacific partnership,…) – integrating ideas and processes…
  • Global sectoral strategies – how will they work?
  • Importance of the market
  • Mainstreaming climate change into development and security (less environment-centric – see Article 3)
  • Future role of terrestrial carbon sinks
  • Role of science – evolution of IPCC