Canada's Action on Climate Change

The Government of Canada's approach to climate change is focused on delivering environmental and economic benefits for all Canadians through:


Regulating Emissions

  • The Government is implementing a sector-by-sector regulatory approach to reduce GHG emissions.
  • The Government has already taken action on two of Canada's largest sources of GHG emissions—transportation and electricity—and is continuing to work on regulations for other major sources of GHG emissions, including the oil and gas sector.
  • As a result of collective action by governments, consumers and industry, Canada's 2020 GHG emissions are projected to be 128 Mt lower relative to a scenario with no action since 2005.
  • Since 2005, Canadian GHG emissions have decreased by 5.1 per cent while the economy has grown by 10.6 per cent.

Electricity Regulations

  • The Government's recent coal-fired electricity regulations further strengthen Canada's position as a world leader in clean electricity production.
  • With these regulations, Canada became the first major coal user to ban the construction of traditional coal-fired electricity generation units. Our approach will foster a permanent transition towards lower or non-emitting types of generation such as high-efficiency natural gas and renewable energy.

Transportation Regulations

Light-duty vehicles

  • Canada has finalized regulations setting progressively more stringent standards for passenger automobiles and light trucks for model years 2011 to 2016, and we have proposed regulations to further improve fuel efficiency and reduce GHG emissions from model years 2017 and beyond.
  • As a result of our action to date, 2025 passenger vehicles and light trucks will emit about half as many GHGs as 2008 models.
  • 2025 vehicles will also consume up to 50 per cent less fuel than 2008 vehicles—leading to significant savings at the pump.

Heavy-duty vehicles

  • Canada's final heavy-duty vehicle regulations establish progressively more stringent standards for 2014 to 2018 model-year heavy-duty vehicles such as full-size pick-ups, semi-trucks, garbage trucks and buses.
  • With these tough new regulations in place, GHG emissions from 2018 model-year heavy-duty vehicles will be reduced by up to 23 per cent.

Strategic Investments

  • The Government has made significant investments to begin Canada's transition to a clean energy economy and advance our climate change objectives.
  • Since 2006, the Government of Canada has taken action to build a more sustainable environment through significant funding in green infrastructure, energy efficiency, clean energy technologies and the production of cleaner energy and cleaner fuels.

Renewable Energy

  • Canada already has one of the cleanest electricity systems in the world and is the world's third-largest producer of hydroelectricity. Over three-quarters of Canada's power come from emission-free sources.
  • Our ecoENERGY for Renewable Power program is supporting 104 projects with investments of about $1.4 billion over 14 years to encourage the generation of electricity from renewable energy sources such as wind, low-impact hydro, biomass, photovoltaic and geothermal energy.

Carbon Capture and Storage

  • Over the past five years, the Government of Canada has committed over $500 million to carbon capture and storage initiatives.
  • This includes $240 million to Saskatchewan's Boundary Dam clean-coal initiative to build one of the world's first and largest commercial-scale carbon capture and storage projects for coal-fired electricity.

Energy Efficiency

  • Canada is providing $195 million, over five years, to continue the momentum in improving energy efficiency in Canada-helping to reduce the amount of energy Canadians need to drive their cars, live in their houses, and use their everyday appliances.

Clean Technology

  • Through Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC), the Government has supported more than 245 clean technology projects that are part of a SDTC portfolio now valued at more than $2 billion, of which $1.4 billion is leveraged from partners in the private sector. 
  • Building on this, Budget 2013 provides $325 million in funding over eight years to SDTC to support the development and demonstration of new clean technologies, which can save businesses money, create high paying jobs and drive innovation.
  • Recent examples of projects funded through the SDTC include:
  • Electrical vehicle charging stations
  • A system to convert municipal solid waste into energy rich gas to produce heat and electricity in remote and rural areas
  • Wind hybrid power plant

Climate Change Adaptation

  • Climate change poses risks to Canada's infrastructure and communities, its natural environment and the economy, and the health and well-being of Canadians.
  • As a result, the Government is also taking important steps to help Canadians adapt to a changing climate.
  • 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.

World Class Science

  • Canada's climate science is an integral part of the global effort to understand climate system behaviour, the human influence on climate, 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 Global Methane Initiative, and supports Canada's reporting obligations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
  • In line with this Government's commitment to climate change science, Budget 2011 included $29 million over five years for Environment Canada's Climate Change Prediction and Scenarios Program.
  • In May 2013, the Government of Canada provided funds for Arctic research through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council's Climate Change and Atmospheric Research Initiative. This program supports collaborative climate change and atmospheric research, and will provide funding of more than $32 million over five years to seven university-based research networks.

International Action

  • Canada continues to play an active role in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and is committed to establishing a fair and effective climate change agreement that includes all major emitters.
  • The Government is demonstrating its commitment to addressing climate change by providing international climate finance in support of mitigation actions by developing countries and support for adaptation by the poorest and most vulnerable countries.
  • Canada has fully delivered on its fast start financing commitment by providing $1.2 billion over 2010-2012; this funding is supporting a range of climate change projects in over 60 developing countries.
  • Canada extends its efforts beyond the UNFCCC by working with other countries through complementary forums such as the Arctic Council, the Montreal Protocol, and the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) 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 and can slow the rise of global warming by up to 0.5 °C by 2050, and up to two-thirds of the projected warming in the Arctic.
  • 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 hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are potent GHGs.
  • Under its Chairmanship of the Arctic Council, Canada is advancing the development of a new arrangement on black carbon and methane to address this pressing environmental issue in the Arctic.