Canada’s Action on Climate Change

Canada's Action of Climate Change (PDF: 313 KB)

The Government of Canada is taking action on climate change while keeping the Canadian economy strong. We are doing this through:

  1. Actions to reduce Canada’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions;
  2. Investments to help Canadians adapt to a changing climate;
  3. World-class scientific research to inform decision-making and the development of policies and programs; and
  4. Leadership in international climate change efforts.
    • Canada boasts one of the cleanest electricity systems in the G7 and in the world, with 79 per cent of our electricity supply emitting no greenhouse gases.
    • Canada's environmental efforts extend beyond actions to address climate change. For example, the National Conservation Plan will coordinate conservation efforts across the country with an emphasis on enabling Canadians to conserve and restore lands and waters in and around their communities, and making it easier for citizens living in cities to connect with nature. It complements significant efforts, including creating new parks, protecting ecologically sensitive lands, protecting species at risk and their habitat, and improving water quality.

1. Actions to Reduce Canada’s GHG Emissions

GHG Regulations

  • The Government of Canada is implementing a sector-by-sector regulatory approach to reduce GHG emissions that protects the environment and supports economic prosperity. The government has already taken action on two of Canada’s largest sources of GHG emissions: transportation and electricity. As a result of this action:
    • Canada became the first major coal user to ban the construction of traditional coal-fired electricity generation units.
    • In the first 21 years, the coal regulations are expected to result in a cumulative reduction in GHG emissions of about 214 megatonnes (Mt)—the equivalent of removing 2.6 million personal vehicles from the road per year over this period.
    • 2025 passenger vehicles and light trucks will emit about half as many GHGs as 2008 models.
    • 2025 vehicles would also consume up to 50 per cent less fuel than 2008 vehicles—leading to significant savings at the pump; and,
    • GHG emissions from 2018 model-year heavy-duty vehicles would be reduced by up to 23 per cent.

Canada’s Action on Hydrofluorocarbons

  • On Dec. 5, 2014, Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq announced the Government of Canada was following through on its commitment to reduce the world’s most potent and fastest-growing GHGs by publishing a Notice of Intent to Regulate Hydrofluorocarbons. Moving forward with regulations on HFCs will reduce GHG emissions and will place Canada among nations taking early action on these substances, which are thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide and are expected to increase substantially in the next 10 to 15 years, if left unchecked.
  • Canada is also taking steps to reduce global HFC consumption. In November, Parties to the Montreal Protocol considered a proposal put forward by Canada, the United States and Mexico to phase down HFCs.
  • The Parties of the Montreal Protocol will hold an additional meeting in 2015, where Canada intends to take a leadership role in encouraging countries to engage constructively in discussions on issues related to HFC management, including further consideration of phase-down options.
  • Canada is also a cofounder and a major contributor to the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, an international voluntary initiative aimed at advancing efforts to reduce short-lived climate pollutants, including HFCs, in ways that protect the environment and public health, promote food and energy security, and address climate change. Canada believes it is important for countries to take domestic action now on HFCs to pave the way for a comprehensive, global approach in advance of an international phase-down agreement.

Clean Energy Investments

  • The government has invested more than $10 billion in green infrastructure, energy efficiency, clean energy technologies, cleaner fuels and smarter grids. Examples of these investments include:
    • $915 million through Sustainable Development Technology Canada’s Sustainable Development Tech Fund towards the development and demonstration of clean technology products such as electrical vehicle charging stations and wind hybrid power plants.
    • $1.4 billion through the ecoENERGY for Renewable Power initiative to encourage the generation of electricity from renewable energy sources such as wind, low-impact hydro, biomass, photovoltaic and geothermal energy.
    • More than $580 million towards carbon capture and storage research, development and demonstration initiatives.
  • The Government of Canada played a critical role in facilitating the financing of the Muskrat Falls Hydroelectricity project in Newfoundland and Labrador which, once completed, is expected to replace all higher-emitting oil-fired electricity in the Province. The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador estimates that the project will result in annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions of 1.2 megatonnes, which is roughly equivalent to one year of GHG emissions from Canada’s construction sector.

Results to Date

  • As a result of collective action to reduce GHGs since 2005, Canada’s 2020 GHG emissions are projected to be 130 megatonnes (Mt) lower than if no action was taken, an amount roughly equivalent to one year's worth of GHG emissions from all of Canada's road transportation.
  • In 2012, Canada’s GHG emissions were 5.1 per cent lower than in 2005, while the economy grew by 10.6 per cent during the same period.
  • Canada boasts one of the the cleanest electricity systems in the G7 and in the world, with 79 per cent of our electricity supply emitting no greenhouse gases.
  • Emissions intensity (emissions per dollar of GDP) has been decreasing—a trend that is projected to continue to 2030.
  • Furthermore, Canada's per capita GHG emissions are now at their lowest level since tracking began in 1990, all while the economy has grown.
  • A 2013 report by the International Energy Agency ranked Canada number two worldwide in energy efficiency.

2. Investments to Help Canadians Adapt to a Changing Climate

  • The government is taking important steps to help Canadians adapt to a changing climate, complementing our efforts to reduce Canada’s GHG emissions.
  • Since 2006, the government has invested $235 million in domestic adaptation initiatives to improve our understanding of climate change and help Canadians plan for climate impacts, including in Canada’s North.

3. World-class Scientific Research

  • The Government of Canada’s climate science is an integral part of the global effort to understand behaviour of the climate system and future climate change scenarios.
  • Canada’s science contributes to domestic climate change policies and decisions, informs international bodies such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the Arctic Council, and the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, and supports Canada’s reporting obligations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

4. Leadership in International Climate Change Efforts

  • Canada is encouraged by the progress made towards a new, fair and effective international climate change agreement that includes commitments from all major emitters.
  • Canada has fully delivered on its fast-start financing commitment by providing $1.2 billion over 2010-2013. This funding is supporting a range of climate change projects in over 60 developing countries.
  • Canada extends its efforts beyond the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change by working with other countries through complementary forums such as the Arctic Council, the Montreal Protocol, and the Climate and Clean Air Coalition to develop practical and collaborative initiatives to reduce GHG emissions and short-lived climate pollutants. Action under the CCAC to reduce short-lived climate pollutants, such as black carbon, methane, tropospheric ozone and some hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), provides multiple health and climate benefits.
  • Canada, together with the United States and Mexico, is also leading international efforts to use the expertise and institutions of the Montreal Protocol to phase down the production and consumption of HFCs, which are potent GHGs.
  • Under its chairmanship of the Arctic Council, Canada is advancing the development of a new framework for action on black carbon and methane to address short-lived climate pollutants in the Arctic.