Net-zero by 2050: climate change recommendations

The National Net Zero Advisory Body released 25 recommendations on Friday for how Canada can adjust its climate plan to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, a goal the country is not on track to achieve at this time, according to the report.

The report is the first of what will be an annual initiative, and is addressed to the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change.

The report covers a lot of ground, but among the recommendations are: a greater focus on developing net-zero industrial sectors that have economic benefits at this early stage; the launch of a council to facilitate faster development of a coast-to-coast net-zero electricity grid; actions to expedite the approval process for net zero emissions projects and the creation of a public control panel and an independent model; and data center to report Canada’s net zero progress with more transparency.

The final recommendation of the advisory body emphasized that the federal government should “incorporate the principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples when making decisions related to the transformation of the energy sector.”

“With each passing year, we set record temperatures and witness more frequent and severe extreme weather events,” the report stated. “This trend will continue and worsen as long as our prosperity and well-being depend on a carbon-based economy. It is time for Canada to end this dependency and accelerate the achievement of a net zero emissions society.”

Canada’s Net Zero Emissions Advisory Body is made up of experts from across the country and was first formed in 2021 under Canada’s Net Zero Emissions Responsibility Act to provide advice related to government policy. climate change plans as an independent body.


Canada has set specific targets for emissions reductions on the way to its ultimate goal of net zero emissions by 2050. The Emissions Reduction Plan 2030Released in November, it sets out how Canada hopes to achieve the 2030 goal of reducing emissions to 40 to 45 percent below 2005 emission levels.

In their foreword, the authors noted that while Canada’s 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan sets a good foundation for Canada’s climate plans, policymakers need to consider that there are very different levels of drive behind different aspects. of the plan, which makes it unbalanced.

For example, efforts to make vehicles greener have recently gained public support, the foreword notes, making the idea of ​​implementing these efforts easier.

But the proposed cap on emissions from the oil and gas sector, which is still in the earliest stage of development, is likely to meet significantly more resistance, making it more difficult to implement than the plan currently envisions.

According to the report, “emissions from the oil and gas sector increased by 18.8% between 2005 and 2019, while emissions from the rest of the economy decreased by 6.1%”, underlining the importance of this sector. to reach even our intermediate goals on the road to net zero.

“Without an oil and gas emissions cap, Canada is unlikely to reach its 2030 emissions target,” the authors wrote.


The report’s 25 recommendations are organized into four “pillars of good governance”: make informed decisions with net-zero models; align federal mandates with net zero targets; share decision-making between sectors and governments; and rapid monitoring and reporting on progress toward net zero.

There is a clear need to better track Canada’s progress in reducing emissions, the report states, to identify sectors where progress is lacking and allow the public to participate.

There are also not enough established indicators of what progress looks like within sectors and industries, according to the report. In 2020-21, there were 86 federal departments and agencies that made their greenhouse gas emissions reports publicly available, but only six had “established indicators of relevance,” according to the report.

Along with a net zero dashboard, the report recommended that the government establish an independent “modeling and data center of excellence” that would be operational by June 2024.

It also recommended that Environment and Climate Change Canada close the two-year data window to provide detailed reports on greenhouse gas emissions in Canada, beginning with this year’s emissions.

Canada’s complicated web of divided government responsibilities in environmental terms has made difficult to meet climate targets in the past, something that was noted in the 2021 Report of the Commissioner for the Environment and Sustainable Development. The fact that the provincial and federal governments have different powers and that emissions are distributed unequally between sectors makes it difficult to reduce them at the national level.

This means that sectors need to start working together more to achieve net zero emissions. Adopting their own net zero mandates will put governments and corporations on a better path, the report recommended.

“The Government of Canada should mandate that all federal agencies, departments and Crown corporations publicly articulate their role in helping Canada achieve net zero emissions,” the report suggested.

Working with indigenous leaders is also essential to achieving a net zero future, the report said, with shared leadership a necessity.

The recommendations also focused on the need for Canada to develop a stronger and more comprehensive net-zero industrial policy.

To ensure Canada’s economic success in a net zero emissions world, the country must make smaller changes within sectors, rather than declaring broad, economy-wide targets, according to the report.

It recommended that the government “establish time-limited strategy tables to develop net-zero competitiveness targets and roadmaps for priority sectors” and use independent intermediaries to support these tables through expert advice in key sectors and “develop and deepen the industry acceptance. “

The report also broke down some of the economic opportunities in greener technology, such as the production and export of low-carbon hydrogen.

Canada’s energy systems are set to be a focus of change in the coming decades as we seek to decarbonise our electrical grid and change the way we heat and cool our buildings.

“We need to dramatically increase grid capacity to accommodate electrification of industrial processes, heating and electric vehicles,” the report stated, adding in its 22nd recommendation that a Pan-Canadian Grid Council should be launched “as soon as as possible to facilitate a pan-Canadian industry dialogue on the topic of net-zero grid and interconnections”.

According to the report, emissions in 2020 in Canada decreased by 9.3% compared to 2005 levels, but since the pandemic caused a major disruption to regular activity, particularly transportation, the sector that experienced one of the largest reductions. But he cautions that this cannot be seen as a true sign of growth, and the authors note that there has been evidence that emissions are returning to pre-pandemic levels.

To achieve the emissions reductions Canada is targeting in 2030, just seven years from now, the country still needs to cut the equivalent of all emissions from the Atlantic provinces, Quebec, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia combined.

The time for incremental changes has passed, the report states.

“We need to define desired future systems now to allow enough time to invest in and build the infrastructure (physical, social, and institutional) of tomorrow,” the authors wrote.

“If implemented, we are confident that our 25 tips contained in this report, in addition to the 40 tips in our presentation for the development of Canada’s 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan and our 10 core values ​​and principles, will contribute significantly to Canada’s development. and the implementation of a path to achieve net zero emissions by 2050”.

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