Canada charts course for clean growth by introducing bill to legislate net-zero emissions by 2050

From: Environment and Climate Change Canada
Woman riding a bicycle in a park.
Achieving a net-zero economy by 2050 is required to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

As the Government of Canada continues to protect and support Canadians through the COVID-19 pandemic, we must continue working toward building a better future. Canadians want a future where their kids and grandkids have cleaner air and healthier communities. They want a future where people around the world equate “made in Canada” with the cleanest and most sought after products, in a marketplace that prizes quality and sustainability. And they want a future with new jobs and careers in a resilient economy that will last not just next year, but in 2030, 2040, and beyond. This future is within our reach, but we must start to position ourselves for it now. It will require taking action on climate change, which continues to present a threat to our health and economy.

Today, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, delivered on the Government’s commitment to legislate Canada’s goal of net zero by 2050, by tabling the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act in the House of Commons.

The Act will do the following:

  • Legally bind the Government to a process to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
  • Set rolling five-year emissions-reduction targets and require plans to reach each one and report on progress.
  • Establish the Net-Zero Advisory Body to provide independent advice to the Government on the best pathway to reach its targets.
  • Require the Government of Canada to publish an annual report describing how departments and crown corporations are considering the financial risks and opportunities of climate change in their decision-making.
  • Enshrine greater accountability and public transparency into Canada’s plan for meeting net-zero emissions by 2050.
  • Provide for independent third-party review by the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development to ensure accountability for all future governments.

To create long-term jobs, we need to secure long-term investments, and investors and consumers are increasingly supporting low-carbon, climate-resilient projects. Our biggest trading partners and economic competitors are already positioning themselves to attract these investments. Canada is well positioned: We have a diversified economy, skilled workforce, and businesses in every part of the country, that are innovating to reduce their emissions. But we need to continue to show that we are serious about meeting the future demands of global markets and that we understand the risks of a warming climate. By further supporting the direction that businesses have already been setting, the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act will do exactly that.

In particular, we know that climate change poses both risks and opportunities for decision-makers. That’s why a growing number of companies and countries are factoring climate risk into their planning, and we believe the Government of Canada should be no exception. The planning and reporting required under the Act will ensure that the Government of Canada plans and invests wisely for today and for decades to come. This will lead to better decisions that invest in a safer and cleaner Canada.

The best available science says achieving a net-zero economy by 2050 is what is required to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. In the coming weeks, the Government will be announcing an enhanced clean-growth plan and further investments that encourage, accelerate, and support the work that Canadian businesses are doing to move to a net-zero economy.

If our industries continue to innovate and governments across the country continue to work together to support them, Canadians will take a leading share of the massive clean-growth opportunity. By working together, we will create a cleaner future with a stronger economy as we look to recover from this pandemic.

Quotes

“Reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions is what the science says we must achieve, and this 30-year project will require every future government to take actions to grow our economy while reducing emissions in every sector. This achievement is necessary to ensure our kids and grandkids can live in a world with cleaner air and water and to ensure our businesses maintain and gain a competitive edge by producing the low-carbon products the world wants to buy, well into the future.”

– The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Quick facts

  • Having net-zero emissions-where there are no greenhouse gas emissions or where emissions are completely offset by other actions that remove climate-warming gasses from the atmosphere-is essential to keeping the world safe and livable for our kids and grandkids.

  • Canada has joined over 120 countries in committing to net-zero emissions by 2050, including the UK, Germany, Italy, Japan, and France.

  • A number of provinces and cities have already made net-zero-by-2050 commitments, including Guelph, Vancouver, Hamilton, Toronto, Halifax, Newfoundland and Labrador, and most recently Quebec. Prince Edward Island has also pledged to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040. Nova Scotia and British Columbia have put into place, or plan to put into place, provincial net-zero-by-2050 legislation.

  • In the Speech from the Throne, the Government committed to immediately bringing forward a plan to exceed Canada’s 2030 climate goal and to legislate Canada’s goal of net-zero emissions by 2050. As part of this plan, the Government will, among other things, make zero-emissions vehicles more affordable while investing in more charging stations across the country; launch a new fund to attract investments in companies making zero-emissions products and cut the corporate tax rate in half for these companies; make Canada a world leader in clean technology; and support our manufacturing, natural resource, energy, and agriculture sectors as they work to transform to meet a net-zero future.

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