A new climate plan for Canada projects the oil and gas industry will need to cut greenhouse-gas emissions by 42 per cent from current levels by 2030 if the country is to meet its new targets.
It is also introducing a tougher schedule to shift Canadian vehicle sales to electric models, promising a requirement that one in five new passenger vehicles be battery-operated within four years, and 60 per cent by the end of 2030.
But Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault said in an interview that it will take a little longer for transport to catch up to other sectors on cutting emissions. Transportation accounts for one-quarter of all emissions, and its carbon footprint has increased 16 per cent in the last 17 years.
The report says by 2030 the sector should be able to cut emissions 23 per cent from current levels. “We are making some progress between now and 2030,” Guilbeault said. “But there’ll be even more progress to come between 2030 and 2035.”
Guilbeault tabled the new emissions reduction plan in the House of Commons Tuesday morning. It is a legislated requirement under the net-zero emissions law the government passed last year.
The plan uses economic and emissions modelling to gauge the most affordable and feasible projects when it comes to Canada’s target to cut emissions by 2030 to no more than 60 per cent of what they were in 2005.
The most recent emissions inventory is from 2019 and shows that Canada produced 730 million tonnes of carbon dioxide or its equivalent in other greenhouse gases such as methane and nitrous oxide.
Canada needs to get to between 407 million tonnes and 443 million tonnes to hit the current target.
The oil and gas sector makes up the biggest share of Canada’s carbon footprint, with 26 per cent of total emissions. Oil and gas emissions are up 20 per cent since 2005.
The report projects that emissions from the oil and gas sector — including production, refining, and transportation via pipelines — could be 110 million tonnes by 2030, down from 191 million tonnes in 2019.
Guilbeault insists this is not the cap on oil and gas emissions the Liberals promised as part of the fall election platform. The government is currently consulting on that, but he says the analysis used in this plan will inform how that cap is set.
On transportation, the report promises to spend another $400 million to install charging stations for electric vehicles, and to expand the electric vehicle rebate program by $1.7 billion.
The coming federal budget is expected to expand that program to include used vehicles as well as more expensive models of electric vehicles so the new SUVs and pickup trucks coming onto the electric vehicle market will qualify.
It wasn’t even a year ago that the government first upped the electric vehicle ante with a target that half of all new vehicles sold be electric by 2030, and 100 per cent by 2035.
The government will also aim for one-third of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles sold to be electric by 2030 and 100 per cent by 2040.
The report forecasts that emissions from waste, including landfills, can be cut by 43 per cent by 2030, electricity by 77 per cent, heavy industry by 32 per cent, and emissions from buildings by 42 per cent.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 29, 2022.