2030 Emissions Reduction Plan begins to deliver on the promise of Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act, but more details are needed.
OTTAWA/TRADITIONAL, UNCEDED TERRITORY OF THE ALGONQUIN ANISHNAABEG PEOPLE –Today the federal government tabled the 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan (ERP) as mandated by the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act, which became law in July 2021.
The ERP provides important details on many of Canada’s measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This sets an important precedent for future accountability. But this is just a start – too many of the new measures to meet the 40-45 per cent target lack specifics.
The ERP includes, for the first time, an attempt to systematically break out the information we need to ensure accountability: Who is responsible? What will happen next, and when?
The ERP is also much more transparent than previous climate plans, with more detailed information on the modelling behind the plan.
While the 2023 Progress Report will provide a key moment for these measures to be fleshed out, the ERP was meant to provide the whole picture, not just a partial one, even if improved. Too many new measures lack a timeline, which is a key element of accountability. Some measures are simply too high level to be assessed or tracked at all.
Ambition in the ERP still falls short – it only aims for the lower end of its 2030 target range of 40-45 per cent reductions from 2005 levels. And that target itself falls short of Canada’s fair share.
The federal government’s 2026 interim objective, at 20 per cent below 2005 levels by 2026, doesn’t even represent a straight line from where we are now to the 2030 target. That is a worrying sign that the measures in the ERP leave too much work to later in this key decade.
While the additional detail about existing emissions reduction measures is welcome and applauded, the current climate emergency requires a similar level of detail, transparency, and accountability across the ERP if Canada can hope to achieve its 2030 target and get on track to net-zero by 2050.
Julia Croome, Ecojustice lawyer said:
“The Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act reflects a simple premise: you can only meet goals when you have a transparent and comprehensive plan that is open to critique and improvement. You must set out – for every measure you plan to take – what you plan to do, who will do it, when it will be completed, how much it will cost, and more.
“In other words, the only way to actually start gaining on the huge and long-term problem of the climate crisis is to break that problem down and get to work. The 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan has taken some of the right steps, and started to break with past habits of high-level, too glossy planning. But it doesn’t go far enough to meet this moment.”
Ecojustice uses the power of the law to defend nature, combat climate change, and fight for a healthy environment. Its strategic, public interest lawsuits and advocacy lead to precedent-setting court decisions and law and policy that deliver lasting solutions to Canada’s most urgent environmental problems. As Canada’s largest environmental law charity, Ecojustice operates offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, and Halifax.