Canada’s Action on Climate Change

1. Actions to Reduce Canada’s GHG Emissions

GHG Regulations

  • The government has developed regulations for 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

  • Canada is continuing to play a leadership role, together with Mexico and the United States, in promoting an amendment to the Montreal Protocol to phase down HFCs, which are powerful greenhouse gases (GHGs) increasingly used in applications such as refrigeration and air conditioning.  
  • 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.
  • Since December 2014, Canada has announced its plans to take action on HFCs through the following publications in the Canada Gazette, Part I:
    • On December 6, 2014, the Government of Canada published a Proposed Notice of Intent to Regulate HFCs; and
    • On March 21, 2015, the Government of Canada published the proposed Ozone-depleting Substances and Halocarbon Alternatives Regulations that would introduce a permitting and reporting system for HFCs.
  • Establishing regulations to control HFCs will reduce GHG emissions and will place Canada among nations taking early action on these substances.

Clean Energy Investments

  • The government has invested significantly 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.

Results to Date

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The government has invested significantly 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 provided $1.2 billion in fast-start financing over 2010-2013. This funding is supporting a range of climate change projects in developing countries.
  • Canada also pledged $300 million to the Green Climate Fund in support of further climate change action in 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.