On November 19, 2020, the Government of Canada announced what it described as “a more ambitious” climate commitment, declaring that we will achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and making that our new climate goal. “Net-zero by 2050” became the Liberal Government’s new climate brand. But less than a week later, on November 24, the government quietly released a new report called Canada’s Energy Future 2020, showing that Canada’s oil production is projected to continue expanding up to 2045. Expanding oil production will mean more CO2 emissions for Canada and the world. We export 80% of our oil production and rank as the world’s third largest oil exporter.
On June 30, 2021, the Liberal Government proclaimed a new law called the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act (Bill C-12) which it describes as Canada’s “commitment to reach net-zero by 2050”. The government has made ambitious claims that this new law will provide “accountability” to ensure that Canada will meets the promised “net-zero” emissions reduction goal by 2050.
Click the yellow button to get our discussion paper: Misleading Canadians: Bill C-12 (the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act) and the promise of net-zero emissions by 2050 (opens as a PDF in your browser).
This paper examines the startling contradictions between Canada’s newly promised “Net-Zero by 2050 emissions” goal and the Government of Canada’s reports that acknowledge the planned growth of our oil and gas production to 2045. Close examination of the new law reveals that it does not impose any legal obligation on the government to set any emission target for 2050, until late 2034 – and no target for 2040 until the end of 2029. The fatal design feature of the law is that it allows our government for many more years to legally avoid disclosing crucial information to Canadian citizens about the long-term emissions implications of our current economic policies and, most significantly, about the emissions implications of Canada’s existing plans to continue expanding our oil and gas production for another 25 years.
Click the black button to get our April 2021 discussion paper: Canada’s Energy Future 2020: the Incompatibility Between Canada’s New “Net-Zero by 2050” Climate Goal and Continued Expansion of Oil-sands Production (opens as a PDF in your browser).
In this discussion paper, we take a close look at what “net-zero by 2050” really means. We review key new policies that our politicians assure us will have the capability to remove massive amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere, achieving theoretical deep emissions cuts in the future – 30 years from now – including Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage (CCUS) technology and other “engineered forms of negative emissions” which do not yet exist (or exist only in very small-scale experimental forms which have not been proven viable for large-scale deployment). We explain why a climate plan that relies on CCUS and other envisioned future technologies to achieve massive CO2 “removals” from the atmosphere by 2050 and every year for decades afterwards is a dangerous and deeply unethical path, and it will shift the burden of action and loss onto the world’s children.
This analysis shines a spotlight on the fallacy of our government’s policies and invites us to confront our politicians. The remaining timeline for absolute emissions reductions on the scale science requires is unforgiving and brief. This is an urgent call for all of us to ask our Members of Parliament hard questions. What will we say in the future if we do not speak now?