Climate Change

A better way forward is still possible

In Bill Henderson’s guest post, he drew attention to a commentary by University of New Brunswick’s Jason MacLean. Published in April 2022, Canada’s new climate plan is reckless, but a better way forward is still possible should be reviewed. Excerpts follow:

Canada’s new climate plan is reckless. The federal government’s Emissions Reduction Plan doesn’t meet the criteria of credible net-zero emissions plans, and it lacks any vision of a future capable of inspiring Canadians to change their lives.

The Emissions Reduction Plan is the first released under the Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act. It aims to put Canada on track to reduce emissions by 40-45 per cent from 2005 and reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

It will do neither.

…The plan fails to aggressively reduce emissions in the short term. Instead, it sets an unambitious target for Canada’s largest and fastest growing source of emissions, calling for a 31 per cent reduction from the oil and gas sector, but it is not binding.

According to a recent analysis, to have even 50-50 odds of meeting the Paris Agreement’s 1.5 C target, Canada’s oil and gas output must fall by 74 per cent by 2030, with a complete phaseout by 2034.

…Canada’s decision is far out of line with climate science. The International Energy Agency’s 2021 net-zero pathway, which the government relies on heavily, clearly explains that the world can’t afford any new oil and gas development after 2021. None.

Even so, the government projects oil and gas production to continue rising until 2050

Canada’s Emissions Reduction Plan bets heavily on costly and ineffective carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) technology to keep emissions from the atmosphere…

Decades of research shows that CCUS actually captures and stores very little carbon (less than 0.02 per cent of energy-related emissions in 2021), remains prohibitively expensive and requires more energy to operate than previously thought. Renewable energy and electrification are cheaper and proven non-polluting alternatives.

Canada’s set-and-forget” carbon price will not reduce emissions if it doesn’t apply to all of Canada’s emissions. The government’s own Net-Zero Advisory Body told the government this, but the government ignored its advice.

…Canada considers only its upstream oil and gas emissions, ignoring the downstream Scope 3 emissions that come from burning the fossil fuels we export. Canada’s plan unduly shifts the burden of reducing emissions to other countries.

…Canadians must envision a future that is both decarbonized and desirable. This means re-imagining how we live, work, move and play, and demanding that our governments make it happen.

Categories: Climate Change

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