Canada

Canada

Geopolitical Informations

Capital
Ottawa
Population
36.2 million (2016)
Total area
9,984,670 km2

Main legislative bodies

  • Parliament of Canada (Bicameral)

Latest News

Canada adopts federal carbon price for 2018, amid mixed reactions from provinces

On Friday (Dec. 9) the Canadian government agreed on a national carbon pricing plan, the first measure of its kind in the country. The carbon pricing plan is part of the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change proposed by Trudeau’s administration, which also includes measures to foster clean energy and climate resilience.  It read more…

Canada, Mexico, United States launch partnership on energy and climate

At the North American Energy Ministers meeting held in Mexico on Monday (May 25), Canada, Mexico and the United States announced the launch of an energy partnership, Reuters reported. A working group was established with the purpose of harmonizing and integrating climate change policy between the countries, enhancing regional cooperation. During the meeting, the three read more…

List of climate pledges for Paris deal grows as Canada announces its INDC

On Friday (May 15) Canada’s Environment Minister Leona Agglukaq announced plans to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emission by 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 at a conference in Winnipeg. The pledge to reduce emissions is the country’s intended nationally determined contribution (INDC) for the UNFCCC. The announcement comes a couple of months after Canada read more…

Climate Policy Facts

Emissions

Year Total GHG Emissions Excluding LUCF ( MtCO2e) Total GHG Emissions Excluding LUCF Per Capita ( tCO2e Per Capita) Total GHG Emissions Excluding LUCF Per GDP ( tCO2e / Million $ GDP)
1990 572.25 20.59 679.17
1991 575.9 20.44 698.1
1992 597.07 20.94 717.48
1993 606.71 21.04 712.41
1994 634.4 21.79 710.78
1995 655.88 22.34 714.76
1996 666.04 22.45 714.27
1997 677.58 22.6 697.19
1998 678.01 22.42 670.17
1999 681.97 22.36 638.75
2000 698.06 22.69 621.31
2001 692.57 22.28 605.62
2002 702.87 22.41 597.16
2003 729 23.01 607.93
2004 727.4 22.73 588.24
2005 733.7 22.71 575.94
2006 716.28 21.99 546.83
2007 744.06 22.62 555.81
2008 733.47 22.06 544.16
2009 700.48 20.83 534.48
2010 710.72 20.9 525.41
2011 716.21 20.85 516.41

The line chart shows the country’s carbon emissions by year, expressed in million tonnes of CO2 equivalent (MtCO2e) for emission totals, and in tonnes of CO2 equivalent (tCO2e) for per capita and per dollar of GDP values. It is based on data from CAIT platform provided by the World Resource Insititute, and updated regularly with the most recent data available.

By selecting or deselecting each item, you can compare or give prominence to particular emission trends.

Energy

Energy Source Production (ktoe) TPES (ktoe)
Coal 35096,175 18590,684
Oil 197210,654 77101,448
Natural gas 128898,632 86158,568
Nuclear 26787,436 26787,436
Hydro 33661,088 33661,088
Geothermal 0 0
Solar thermal 0 0
Solar photovoltaic 26,402 26,402
Tide, wave, ocean 1,29 1,29
Wind 1001,298 1001,298
Biomass 10762,525 10151,388
Biofuels 1257,587 2093,892
Waste 254,608 254,608

The double-doughnut chart shows the country’s energy production and TPES (Total Primary Energy Supply), expressed in thousand tonnes of oil equivalent (ktoe). It is built on data from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development/International Energy Agency libraries, and updated regularly with the most recent data available.

The INNER RING represents the country’s energy production from each energy source, corresponding to the quantities of fuels extracted or produced.

The OUTER RING shows the country’s total primary energy supply of each fuel. It represents the net quantities of fuels made available on the domestic market, after foreign transfers and trading. According to IEA’s definition, TPES equals production plus imports minus exports minus international bunkers plus or minus stock changes.

Differences between production and TPES are significant as they highlight the actual country’s behaviour in the matter of a given energy source. Production values and TPES values of the same energy source may vary widely, especially in case of the much-traded fossil fuels.

Energy data refers to year 2013.

National Policy

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

The officially bilingual (English and French) country Canada is a federal parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy with ten provinces and three territories. Queen Elizabeth II is the Head of State and also the political system resembles that of the United Kingdom. The bicameral parliament consists of the Senate and the House of Commons. Both chambers can introduce a bill, except in the case of public revenue that have to emanate from the House of Commons. There are three readings of the bill in each House and a committee has to consider the details of the legislation. Once both chambers have approved a bill, it becomes law. The current Prime Minister of Canada is Justin Trudeau of the Liberal Party.

CLIMATE CHANGE

In 2015 Canada did submit its INDCs to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in advance to the COP21 in Paris (see International Policy)

Canada did not have any comprehensive federal climate change legislation until 2016. There had been several attempts to pass more comprehensive and longer-term climate change legislation, but the respective bills did not find a majority in both of the parliamentary chambers.

In 2007, an Act was passed to implement the target of Canada under the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol (see also section on ‘International Policy’). However, in 2011, Canada announced its withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol and officially repealed the Act in 2012.

Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change
In March 2016, the government released the Vancouver Declaration on Clean Growth and Climate Change. On this basis, working groups were established elaborating on the topics ‘Pricing Carbon Pollution’, ‘Complementary Action to Reduce Emissions’, ‘Adaptation and Climate Resilience’ and ‘Clean Technology, Innovation and Jobs’. Stakeholders were engaged in this respective talks and meetings. As a consequence of this process, the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change was adopted in December 2016. It represents the first comprehensive plan to reduce emissions in all economic sectors, to build climate resilience and to accelerate clean economic growth. Respective actions are outlined in the document:

  • Pricing Carbon Pollution: Building on existing provincial systems, a price of US-$ 10 per tonne is introduced by 2018, which shall rise to US-$ 50 by 2020. The provinces have leeway in deciding whether they want to implement a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade system. Moreover, the provinces will be able to retain the generated revenues.
  • Complementary Actions to Reduce Emissions: In addition to carbon pricing, complementary mitigation actions shall be undertaken in all economic sectors. This includes for instance the promotion of electricity generation from clean energy technologies. For this purpose, regulations shall be put in place to provide for a phase-out of traditional coal power plants by 2030 (i.e. without carbon capture and storage (CCS); Canada has the largest commercial-scale coal-fired CCS project in the world). In addition, financial support shall be provided for smart grids, energy storage technologies and new transmission lines. Moreover, clean fuel standards shall incentivise low-carbon fuels and cleaner vehicles. Besides, energy use shall be reduced by energy efficiency measures, fuel switching and innovative alternatives. Building codes shall be adopted to allow only zero energy houses by 2030 as well as new retrofit codes and information disclosure regulations. In the transport sector, a zero-emissions vehicle strategy is supposed to be developed in 2018 and respective investments made. Also mass transit systems should receive more financial support. Methane emissions from the oil and gas sector shall be reduced by 40 to 45 percent by 2025. HFCs shall be phased down in line with the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol.
  • Adaptation and Climate Resilience: The government will establish a new Canadian Centre for Climate Services and work with subnational entities to build regional adaptation capacity. Climate-resilient codes and standards as well as a fund for built and natural, large-scale infrastructure projects that support mitigation of natural disasters, extreme weather events and climate resilience are included, too. A national action plan will be developed to respond to impacts on health and wellbeing.
  • Clean Technology, Innovation and Jobs: Further actions in the framework include the protection and enhancement of carbon sinks, the generation of renewable energy from waste and the demonstration of leadership in the public sector. Additionally, the framework includes support measures for clean technology and innovation that promotes clean growth as well as respective partnerships and research. Moreover, a Smart Cities Challenge is part of the document. Part of the document are also the establishment of a Low Carbon Economy Fund to support new provincial and territorial actions, funds to support green infrastructure such as renewable energies, funds to support urban public transit systems and funds for clean technology initiatives.

In addition, the framework commits to ongoing monitoring and reporting on the results achieved. However, the province of Saskatchewan has not adopted the framework.
Full document available here.

Canada’s Mid-Century Long-Term Low-Greenhouse Gas Development Strategy
According to Canada’s Mid-Century Strategy submitted to the UNFCCC, Canada examines an emissions abatement pathway consistent with net emissions falling by 80 percent in 2005 compared to 2005 levels (equivalent to a 6 percent reduction if LULUCF emissions are excluded). Consequently, Canada’s Mid-Century Strategy is not a blueprint for action, and it is not policy prescriptive.
Full document available here.

 

ENERGY

Canada produces its electricity largely from hydropower, which is why the emissions from the power sector are relatively low. However, Canada is also an exporter of fossil fuels. Also prime minister Justin Trudeau has authorised pipelines for tar sands oil. This has been criticised as it would run counter the Canadian claims that the world needs to move away from fossil fuels. Oil extracted from tar sands is also one of the most carbon-intensive fuel stocks and causes widespread environmental damage during extraction and refining.

Reduction of Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Coal-fired Generation of Electricity Regulations (SOR/2012-167)
In 2012, Canada released final regulations to reduce GHG emissions from coal-fired electricity generation. The regulations sets a performance standard of 420 tonnes of carbon dioxide per gigawatt hour (CO2/GWh) for new coal-fired electricity generation units and those that have reached the end of their useful life. Coal power plants with Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) are excluded from the regulations. The performance standard took effect on July 1, 2015, and resulted in the phase-out of the dirtiest coal power plants.
Full document available here or as pdf.

In April 2011, the government of Canada approved for construction the Boundary Dam CCS project in Saskatchewan with US-$ 240 million in initial funding.

Canada Foundation for Sustainable Development Technology Act 2001
The law establishes a non-profit foundation to finance and support the development and demonstration of clean technologies. It does not relate solely to technologies for tackling climate change but also for instance to technologies for reducing water pollution.
Full document available here.

Energy Efficiency Act 1992
Canada has implemented minimum energy performance standards for a number of products and equipment to decrease energy consumption following the approval of the Energy Efficiency Act in 1992. The law gives the government the authority to establish and enforce respective standards as well as to introduce respective labelling schemes. The Act has been repeatedly amended to update its scope and effectiveness. In addition, there are several monitoring arrangements, such as a database for registering the energy consumption of specific products. Moreover, the Minister for Natural Resources has to present an energy efficiency progress report to the Parliament every three years according to the law.
Full document available here or as pdf.

In 2011, Canada announced US-$ 195 million to improve energy efficiency in Canadian buildings and industries, and US-$ 281 million to support the development of clean energy technologies.

TRANSPORTATION

The transport sector policy is built upon programs, declarations and Memorandum of Understanding promoted by the Federal Government. There is no comprehensive regulatory framework.

Fuel Vehicle Standards
In 2014, Canada released three regulations to reduce GHG emissions from passenger cars and light trucks for the model years 2017 and beyond until 2025: the Regulations Amending the Passenger Automobile and Light Truck Greenhouse Gas Emission Regulations, amendments to the On-Road Vehicle and Engine Emission Regulations (SOR/2003-2) (also as pdf) and amendments to the Sulphur in Gasoline Regulations (SOR/1999-236) (also as pdf). The government projected that the average GHG emissions from 2025 vehicles will be reduced by about 50% from those sold in 2008. Moreover, the Heavy-duty Vehicle and Engine Greenhouse Gas Emission Regulations of 2013 aim to reduce GHG emissions from heavy-duty vehicles by 23 percent until 2018. The government has already announced its intention to develop more stringent standards to further reduce GHG emissions and fuel consumption from post-2018 model year heavy-duty vehicles and engines.

Renewable Fuels Regulation 2010 (SOR/2010-189)
The regulations require fuel producers and importers to have an average renewable content of at least 5% based on the volume of gasoline that they produce or import commencing December 15, 2010. The Regulations also require fuel producers and importers of diesel fuel and heating distillate oil to have an average annual renewable fuel content equal to at least 2% of the volume of diesel fuel and heating distillate oil that they produce and import commencing July 1, 2011.
Full document available here or as pdf.

Canada’s Action Plan to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Aviation 2012
In 2012, the Action Plan was published, which was created in cooperation with the Canadian aviation industry. The Action Plan supersedes a voluntary agreement to address GHG emissions from aviation that existed already from 2005 on. It sets targets to reduce GHG emissions from both domestic and international aviation and identifies key measures to be taken.
Full document available here.

ecoEnergy for Biofuels Program 2008-2017
The ecoEnergy for Biofuels programme supports the production of renewable alternatives to gasoline and diesel and encourages the development of a competitive domestic industry for renewable fuels. The programme provides an operating incentive to facilities that produce renewable alternatives to gasoline and diesel in Canada. It runs from April 1, 2008 to March 31, 2017.
For more information, see here.

WASTE

The control of hazardous waste, non-hazardous waste and hazardous recyclable materials within Canada is a responsibility shared by the federal, provincial/territorial and municipal governments. The federal government is responsible for regulating international and inter-provincial/territorial movements. Provincial and territorial governments are responsible for regulating and licensing waste generators, carriers, and disposal, recycling and treatment facilities. Municipal governments are responsible for establishing waste collection and disposal programmes within their jurisdictions. Under the authorities provided by the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) of 1999 (see also below), Environment Canada (EC) currently has three Regulations in force for controlling transboundary movements of hazardous waste and hazardous recyclable materials. These include:

• the Export and Import of Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Recyclable Material Regulations (EIHWHRMR) of 2005;
• the Interprovincial Movement of Hazardous Waste Regulations (IMHWR) of 2002;
• the Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCB) Waste Export Regulations of 1996.

Waste Management Acts authorize the provincial Environment Ministers to make guidelines and regulations pertaining to every person and commercial, industrial or public organisation that produces, stores, transports, handles, treats, destroys, discharges, or disposes of wastes and special wastes. They generally override municipal by laws and permits that conflict with it, and wastes discharged or disposed must have a permit, approval, order, waste management plan, or be in compliance with the regulations. The Acts deal with licensing of disposal facilities as well as the transportation of wastes. The definition of waste varies from province to province and sometimes from regulation to regulation within a province. In British Columbia, the Waste Management Act (R.S.B.C. 1996, c.482) covers a host of environmental topics in great detail that in other provinces are dealt with in the Environmental Protection Act. The topics include stewardship programs for beverage containers and used oil, contaminated sites remediation, storage of designated materials, and spill reporting. Similarly, in Ontario, the General Waste Management Regulation (R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 347) establishes standards for waste disposal sites and waste management systems, deals with transportation of wastes within and without the province, manifests, refrigerants and leachate quality criteria.

ENVIRONMENT

Canadian Environment Protection Act (CEPA) 1999
The Act replaces a similar law from 1988 and sets out a framework to manage and control toxic substances. CFCs (Chlorofluorocarbons), CH4 (methane), N2O (nitrous oxide), HFCs (Hydrofluorocarbons) and SF6 (Sulphur Hexafluoride) are subject to this Act. The law was amended in 2008 to include reviews of the environmental and economic impacts of biofuel production in Canada. The amendment constitutes a framework within which the government can regulate biofuel content. It set the basis for the Renewable Fuels Regulations (see above).

ADAPTATION

From Impacts to Adaptation: Canada in a Changing Climate 2007 and Canada in a Changing Climate: Sector Perspectives in Impacts and Adaptation 2014
In 2007, Canada released a national science assessment of climate change impacts and adaptations, ‘From Impacts to Adaptation: Canada in a Changing Climate’. The report was updated in 2014 with the title ‘Canada in a Changing Climate: Sector Perspectives in Impacts and Adaptation’. Adaptation activities contained include provincial guidelines for reforestation, the development of community-based heat alert and response systems, provincial coastal risk assessment and the revision of taxation schemes to help producers manage weather-related risks.

In 2007, the Government of Canada made a four-year investment of 85.9 million Canadian dollars in domestic climate change adaptation. This funding was intended to help build a foundation of increased knowledge, regional capacity building, and risk management tools. In 2011, the government contributed another 148.8 million Canadian dollars over five years (2011-2016) for climate change adaptation. This funding supports nine domestic departments and agencies in helping to understand climate change and prepare for climate-related impacts. Initiatives include:

• $ 29.84 million for Environment Canada’s Climate Change Prediction and Scenarios Program
• $ 16.55 million for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Aquatic Climate Change Adaptation Services Program
• $ 2.41 million for Parks Canada towards Understanding Climate-Driven Ecological Changes in Canada’s North
• $ 8.5 million for Health Canada’s Heat Alert and Response Systems
• $ 10 million for Health Canada’s Climate Change and Health Adaptation for Northern First Nations and Inuit Communities
• $ 12 million to the Public Health Agency of Canada for Preventative Public Health Systems and Adaptation to a Changing Climate
• $ 20.02 million for Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada’s Climate Adaptation and Resilience Program for Aboriginals and Northerners
• $ 3.5 million for Industry Canada and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, for Integrating Adaptation into Codes and Standards for Northern Infrastructure
• $ 35 million for Natural Resources Canada towards Enhancing Competitiveness in a Changing Climate
• $ 10.99 million for Transport Canada’s Northern Transportation Adaptation Initiative

Adaptation Platform
The Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Division (CCIAD) of Natural Resources (NRC) Canada has developed an Adaptation Platform to bring together key stakeholders from government, industry, and professional organisations, to collaborate on adaptation priorities. The platform provides the structure to pool knowledge, capacity, and financial resources. Adaptation Platform activities are coordinated through a Plenary and carried out by the Working Group participants or through calls for proposals and contracted analysis. In March 2013, the first annual Adaptation Platform report was released. An October 2014 report details all 69 projects carried out to date, with over 18.4 million Canadian dollars in funding.

Regional Initiatives
Natural Resources Canada’s (NRC’s) Regional Adaptation Collaboratives (RACs) Climate Change Program helps facilitate regional adaptation planning and decision-making. It is a three-year, $ 30 million, cost-shared federal program designed to help communities prepare for and adapt to local impacts of climate change by reducing the risks and maximizing the opportunities posed by climate change. It is a collaboration between the federal government, provinces and territories, local governments, and other organizations.

Tools & guides
The Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Division (CCIAD) of Natural Resources Canada (NRC) has compiled a set of tools and guides that provide a practical approach to assessing climate change risks and opportunities and providing guidance for planning and implementing adaptations.

SUBNATIONAL ACTION

Despite the long-time lack of comprehensive federal legislation in Canada, some Canadian provinces have been active in passing their own climate legislation. During 2007 and 2008, British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec joined the Western Climate Initiative, a collaboration to tackle climate change at a regional level. The Western Climate Initiative was launched in February 2007 by the US States of Arizona, California, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington (in November 2011, the Western Climate Initiative formed Western Climate Initiative Inc., a non-profit corporation). Vehicle fuel efficiency in British Columbia and Quebec have been aligned with the standards in California. Moreover, Ontario passed a comprehensive Green Energy and Green Economy Act in 2009 to expand renewable energy generation, encourage energy conservation and promote the creation of clean energy jobs. The Act includes the targets to reduce emissions by 15 percent by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050 below 1990 levels. It includes a feed-in tariff, energy conservation measures on all levels and a plan to shut down all coal-fired power plants in 2014. Furthermore, Alberta has a climate change plan based on intensity-based targets and the commitment to reduce GHG emissions intensity by 50 percent by 2050. It relies on energy efficiency, CCS and renewable energy production. Besides, Cap-and-trade schemes have been introduced by Manitoba, Ontario and Québec, which represent a large share of the Canadian population. Québec has linked its Emission Trading Scheme with the one of California in 2014. In 2015, Ontario and Manitoba announced its intention to set up an ETS and to join the market of Québec and California. Ontario’s cap and trade system has been established in 2017 and is expected to link with the one of Québec and California in 2018.

 

Main sources:

Government of Canada, Canada’s Action on Climate Change website: www.climatechange.gc.ca

Country profile of Canada on the website of the Grantham Institute on Climate Change and the Environment

International Policy

General features

  • Party to the UNFCCC (Annex I):
    • Date of signature: 12 June 1992
    • Date of ratification: 04 December 1992
    • Date of entry into force: 21 March 1994
  • No longer member of the Kyoto Protocol (after the decision to withdraw during the COP17 ):
    • Date of signature: 29 April 1998
    • Date of ratification: 17 December 2002
    • Date of entry into force: 16 February 2005
    • Date of retreat: 15 December 2011
    • The target of Canada under the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol was to reduce GHG emissions by six percent below 1990 levels. In 2012, Canada reported an emission increase of 18 percent above 1990 levels.
  • Signatory of the Copenhagen Accord
    • Canada has submitted a 2020 economy-wide emissions reduction target under the Accord, which was reaffirmed in the Cancun Agreements, of 17 percent below 2005 levels, a target that is aligned with the United States. This target has been inscribed in the Copenhagen Accord and is subject to adjustment to remain consistent with the US target.
    • As part of the Copenhagen Accord, Canada contributed with $1.2 billion in new and additional climate change financing for the fiscal years 2010/11, 2011/12 and 2012/2013.
  • Party to the Paris Agreement
    • Date of signature: 22 April 2016
    • Date of ratification: 5 October 2016
    • Date of entry into force: 4 November 2016
  • Post 2020 action
    • Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) submitted in advance of the COP21 (Paris), in 2015; updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) in course of the ratification of the Paris Agreement with the same targets as in the INDC but descriptions of new measures adopted (including for instance on the Pan-Canadian Framework on Climate Change and Clean Growth; see section on ‘National Policy’).
    • Main actions included in the NDC:
      • 30 percent emission reduction by 2030 compared to 2005 levels (including LULUCF emissions; corresponding to 20 percent if excluding LULUCF emissions)
      • Economy-wide target including all IPCC sectors and the GHGs CO2, CH4, N2O, SF6, HFCs, PFCs and NF3
      • Use of IPCC guidelines in methodologies and metrics
      • Canada may use international mechanisms that deliver real and verified emissions reductions to achieve its target
      • Further commitments:
        – Establishing more stringent standards in the transportation sector for heavy-duty vehicles of post-2018 period;
        – Gradually phasing down hydrofluorocarbons;
        – Reducing methane emissions from the oil and gas sector;
        – Help developing countries fight climate change by investing US-$ 2.65 billion over the next 5 years
      • The NDC is rate “inadequate” by the Climate Action Tracker.

Other bilateral or multilateral cooperation

Negotiating position

Canada is a member of the Umbrella Group in the UNFCCC negotiations.

In 2011 Canada declared its official retreat from the Kyoto Protocol (see also section on ‘National Policy’). Under the agreement, Canada was required to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 6 percent from 1990 emission levels by 2012.

Despite the withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol, Canada’s Government stated its will to remain an active player in the international climate change negotiations. It supported the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action at COP17, which aimed at reaching an international climate change treaty by 2015 that includes all major emitters.