Pricing carbon pollution offers big gains

VANCOUVER — The climate plan released today by the federal government offers substantial gains in making polluters pay and other clean energy regulations. But it’s clear that more climate action will be needed in the year ahead to reduce carbon emissions to the level science says is needed and to protect communities from catastrophic climate change.

“We’re in a climate emergency, and all countries must drive down emissions to meet Paris Agreement commitments,” said David Suzuki Foundation acting executive director Ian Bruce. “Having a plan that exceeds the current 2030 target is an important move, but Canada must go much further to reduce emissions to the level science says is needed.”

Annual increases in pricing carbon pollution, rising at $15 a tonne after 2022, will help bring the price in line to reflect the rapidly rising costs of climate change. Pricing pollution is also the lowest-cost way to reduce emissions. Combined with stronger regulations in the $15 billion plan, policies including building retrofits, support for zero emission vehicles, upgrading electricity grids, the clean fuel standard and nature-based climate solutions further drive down emissions.

“The building blocks to reduce emissions by 40 per cent by 2030 at the federal level are in place, but we know Canada must do even more to hit more ambitious targets,” Bruce said. “Getting the plan in place quickly sets us on a path to a clean energy economy and job opportunities. But, as with Canada’s COVID-19 response, all levels of government must come to the table with strong climate plans to get us on the right track.”

This week’s findings from the UN Environment Program’s “Emissions Gap Report 2020” confirm the world is headed to 3.2 C overheating by 2100 without urgent action now.

Delivering on climate plans requires a halt to expanding fossil fuel production. “Climate action in Canada has been undermined by the oil and gas industry’s efforts to cancel or delay the most meaningful climate policies,” Bruce said. “Yet Canadians say they want strong climate action. For this plan to succeed, Canada needs to hold firm and not give in to interests that don’t support meaningful climate action.”

Tomorrow marks the fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement. “To truly tackle the climate emergency, Canada needs to ramp up ambition over the next crucial decade and bring forward a much stronger 2030 international pledge,” Bruce said.

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Theresa Beer,, 778-874-3396