/Highlights of Canada's Emissions Reduction Plan
Highlights of Canada's Emissions Reduction Plan

Highlights of Canada's Emissions Reduction Plan

Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, will require electric car sales from dealerships as part of accelerating his transition goals. Likewise, it expresses the desire to reduce the consumption of oil and gas to comply with the emission reduction plan.

This reduction plan has several phases, the first of which would be proposed for the year 2030. In this sense, the authorities announced that they will impose vehicle sales measures tending to comply with the planned points.

Thus, by 2026, 20% of new light-duty car sales would correspond to zero-emission vehicles (ZEV). Likewise, by the year 2030, these sales would occupy 60% and 100% by the year 2035. These are ambitious goals of the authorities that seek to clean the air without altering economic development.


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Cars are one of the main objectives of the emission reduction plan

The importance that the Canadian government attaches to the transportation sector in its emissions reduction plan , It is notable. In the case of medium and heavy duty vehicles (MHDV), the authorities expect their sales, in electric mode, to increase 35% by 2030.

It is important to mention that the report on this plan does not consider this category as a mandatory mandate as it does with small cars. Despite this, to give greater impetus to the fulfillment of these goals, the government announced valuable stimuli.

One of them consists of the increase in the active reimbursement program on electric vehicles. It would take up to C$1.7 billion Canadian dollars, which is equivalent to approximately US$1.36 billion.

In this way, a large part of the users who wish to acquire one of these cars will obtain discount benefits paid by the State. With this step, Canada joins a considerable number of developed countries that have ambitious goals related to reducing their carbon footprint.

Reducción de emisiones
According to the plans of the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, by the year 2035, the sale of vehicles powered by internal combustion would be prohibited in Canada. Image: Financial Times

The program could be further expanded

On the other hand, the information in the local media about the possible expansion of the aforementioned program stands out. The latter would occur during the next federal budget, which would include discounts for used electric cars and some luxury brands. Among the latter, some models stand out, such as off-road trucks and Suv models.

“The transport sector contributes 25% of emissions and, in addition, during the last 17 years, its carbon footprint has grown by 16%”

Another aspect that the government takes into account is the contribution of some C$400 million in additional funds for complements to the electric cars. Basically, battery charging stations. With these funds, some 50,000 recharging points for these energy-powered vehicles would be added, say specialized portals.

The focus of attention of the authorities in the transport sector to direct the reduction of emissions, is due to its great weight in the carbon footprint. According to this plan, this sector alone contributes 25% of emissions and, furthermore, during the last 17 years, its carbon footprint has grown by 16%.

It should be noted that, on the part of the automotive industry, accelerated efforts are being made for a rapid transition towards clean cars. Brands such as Ford or GM have been accelerating their entry and expansion into the sector. In it they would meet powerful rivals other than the traditional ones, among which some technology companies stand out.

Reducción de emisiones

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The two largest emitters of greenhouse gases in Canada are the oil and gas areas, followed by the transport sector. The control of both is sensitive for the realization of the government’s emissions reduction plan. Image: Canada.ca

Reducing emissions is a tough fight for Canada

The authorities of the North American country announced that a tax on carbon emissions is underway. In other words, a limit would be placed on the most polluting companies, although many loose ends were left on this announcement. For example, what would be the limit and percentage of the tax.

It should be taken into consideration that this tax could significantly affect the hydrocarbon sector. It represents 10% of all Canadian economic production, so the losses caused by a tax could have a direct impact on that nation’s own GDP. In any case, the authorities limited themselves to suspending the issue with an indefinite “very soon”.

That said, it is understood that the emission reduction proposed by the Canadian authorities has as the main obstacle, not the vehicle industry, but the raw materials industry, that is, oil and gas, while the transport industry is in second place. It should be noted that among all the sectors that will be touched, a total reduction of between 40% and 45% of the country’s emissions will be achieved by 2030.

These government aspirations are ambitious considering how deeply rooted the hydrocarbon industry is in that country. “This is the most daring and specific step taken so far. It is ambitious and achievable”, Trudeau expressed.

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During the announcement of the 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan last Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was accompanied by the Minister of Natural Resources, Jonathan Wilkinson ( left) and Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault. Image: Cbc.ca

The impact of oil and gas on carbon emissions

Taking into account that gas and oil are the main releasers of carbon into the atmosphere, the government has some specific plans for their prices. From the current C$50 dollars per ton, they would rise to more than C$170 dollars in 2030. This seeks to pressure so that the use is oriented towards more renewable forms.

In order for this measure to last through various governments that may come to power in the next 8 years, the authorities hope to have legislative support. By controlling these two sources by reducing emissions, the country could make great strides towards achieving cleaner air.

It is important to keep in mind that in 2019 that sector generated 26% of emissions in Canada, which is equivalent to 191 megatons. If the goals outlined in the plan are met, the actions of the federal government would bring that amount to 110 megatons by 2030 . With this, some of the promises made by the prime minister during the COP26 last fall are fulfilled.

During the aforementioned activity, he stated that his administration will implement effective measures that will put a maximum limit on the emissions. This hinted that companies that want to pump more fossil fuel in the coming decades will only be able to do so with considerably lower emissions intensity.

Is it possible to reduce emissions without affecting the industry and the economy?

To prevent the emission cut plan from strongly damaging the economy, the authorities have a good management of the so-called CCUS. This is a complex process that includes the capture and recycling of carbon dioxide emissions. This is given other uses in the production process and, at the same time, it is prevented from rising into the atmosphere.

“The federal government asked the hydrocarbon companies to take advantage of the current massive inflows of resources. With them they could invest in the development of technologies aimed at reducing emissions”

This technology has been working successfully in places like Saskatchewan. Ottawa assures that it should become a generalized employment in all the industry of the Canadian territory. Mainly, it would help to neutralize the polluting power that exists in the province of Alberta and others.

If this method succeeds, the reduction of emissions could be a done in the eight years remaining for the fulfillment of the goals. The next challenge would be to convince companies of the need and urgency of adopting CCUS. To this end, the government would implement some of the aforementioned credits and taxes in the sector, but no further details were offered.

At the same time, the federal government asked the hydrocarbon companies to take advantage of current massive resource inflows. With them they could invest in the development of technologies aimed at reducing emissions. The current prices of raw materials such as gas and oil bring great profits to companies in the sector.

Cut subsidies to companies linked to carbon

Another action aimed at limiting the scope of the sector that generates emissions, is to cut some subsidy plans. The report reads that the government would eliminate all subsidies to industries considered “inefficient” . Likewise, it would carry out a plan to “gradually eliminate financing for the fossil fuel industry, including by federal Crown corporations


By executing these actions, sensitive sources of financing would be cut that would prevent companies in the sector from continuing to expand. By doing this, a new problem arises and it is the millions of jobs that these sectors generate in the Canadian population.

To prevent the reduction of emissions from becoming an accelerator of unemployment , the authorities speak of other training investments. In other words, the State would dedicate funds to adjust the knowledge of the workers towards other forms of cleaner generation. It would be what the government calls a “just transition plan” for workers to join the low-carbon economy.

In the same project of the 2030 plan, it is explained that there will be a fund of about C$2,000 million dollars for workers from Alberta, Saskatchewan, Labrador and Newfoundland. This fund will be used “ to help workers in all sectors to improve or acquire new skills to be at the forefront of the zero carbon industry”.

An example cited by the project refers to displaced workers from the gas industry. These could be seamlessly coupled to low-carbon generation industries such as hydrogen, according to the text of the plan.


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Some criticism cas towards the plan of the Canadian government

Returning to the second most polluting sector in the country, that of transportation, doubts assail its main representatives. Such is the case of David Adams, CEO of Global Automakers of Canada, who considers that there is no clear vision of what to do within the sector to meet these goals. “The minister’s report lacks clarity”, he regrets and adds that they need “ security that the consumer will join in this trip. But that point is not totally clear


On the other hand, Brian Kingston, CEO of Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers’ Association,

considers that these measures complement the plans that are already underway. In other words, it expresses that companies are already injecting large funds into the creation of plants for electric cars.

It emphasizes that success in reducing emissions will depend on the government’s efforts to educate consumers and increase infrastructure. “ Government efforts to improve electric vehicle charging infrastructure, increase purchase incentives and educating consumers will determine whether or not Canada will keep up”, he says.

Considers that the goal of totally eliminating sales of vehicles powered by internal combustion in just 13 years could cause problems. These inconveniences would not only affect this particular industry, but also the energy generation industry, since the demand for electricity to move millions of cars would require the maximum generation capacity.

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David Adams, CEO of the Canadian Vehicles Manufacturers’ Association, stated that the 2030 plan complements the ongoing plans of almost all automotive companies. Image: Autonews.com

A “Pan-Canadian Council” on energy

With the concern of electricity demand that requires the replacement of 60% of cars in 8 years and 100% in 13 years, the authorities have in mind some possible solutions. One of them is the creation of a “Pan-Canadian Council” dedicated to electricity generation. For this, the government would work with the local administrations of provinces and territories.

In this, solutions and investments in infrastructure would be proposed to develop emerging technologies. Some of them such as geothermal, tidal power generation or the creation of small modular nuclear reactors. For this step, the government would dedicate some C$850 million dollars that were already in the budget to work on the generation of solar, wind and other energy.

Canada is one of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases per capita in the Western Hemisphere. The constant criticism against the so-called “passivity” of the authorities could be one of the main drivers of this emissions reduction plan.

Although the mentioned project seems correctly oriented by the authorities, the critics consider it to be extremely ambitious. With this they imply that the goals set by the Canadian federal government are very difficult to meet in the short term proposed.

Some companies that operate within the country, such as hydrocarbons, could go to other producing nations if the pressure on them increases. The same could happen with vehicle manufacturing plants. All this considering that by 2030 the global transition will lag behind Canada’s plans.

An emissions reduction plan that falls short?

But while one sector considers that the goals of the plan are very daring and ambitious, another affirms that they are insufficient. This is the vision of the organizations related to environmental protection, which consider that the plan falls short. The hydrocarbon companies will continue to work without major problems for many years.

They affirm that the environmental problem demands an urgent solution and not such an elastic plan so that the exploitation of resources and emissions. Although most groups applaud the initiative, they affirm that the authorities must go further to stop the expansion of the oil and gas industries.

They assure that as long as there is no control over the hydrocarbon industry, the reduction of emissions will not be a reality. In this way, they describe it as unfair that the hydrocarbon sector has less pressure than other sectors to reduce its footprint in the next eight years.

According to the projections of the plan, the area oil and gas should cut up to 31% by 2030. However, in general all sectors should drop between 40% and 45%.

The environmental organization Greenpeace was one of the critical voices of the emission reduction plan. The project was rated as “not enough” by this group. Image: Greenpeace.org

Greenpeace considers that it is not enough

The well-known environmental protection organization Greenpeace

also made a statement. Among other aspects, he pointed out that the scope projected by the plan is not enough. In addition, they regret that the solutions are based on “risky fix technologies”. With the latter, they refer to carbon sequestration or CCUS mentioned above.

Instead of seeking this type of risky solutions, the organization ensures that the elimination of exploitation should be sought of oil and gas. “ This plan does not allow the oil and gas sector to do its fair share. Avoiding catastrophic climate change requires reducing oil and gas production over the next decade”, argues Keith Brooks, director of the environmental defense program.

From the organization Clean Energy Canada, its executive director, Merran Smith, ensures that the plans are clear in their purpose. There is an emission reduction goal that, if met, would constitute a considerable achievement, he says. “Despite the fact that some groups say that it is not enough,

there will be a fair and significant reduction
”, he highlights.
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