“2030 Emissions Reduction Plan: Canada’s Next Steps for Clean Air and a Strong Economy”

The Trudeau government’s latest climate change announcement is a plan to cut emissions by 40% by 2030.

The plan also aims to cut oil and gas sector emissions from 191 megatonnes to 110 megatonnes, though the government says it won’t reduce production “not driven by declines in global demand.”

Whether out of political calculation, the influence of the industry, or a simple lack of understanding, this announcement perpetuates the idea that “emissions” can be cut in a meaningful and sustainable way while continuing to expand fossil fuel production. This conforms with earlier analysis of how Trudeau promises action to the public while at the same time comforting business with promises that not much will change.

As long as Canadian politicians are too afraid to acknowledge that avoiding catastrophic climate change requires abolishing fossil fuels we will keep getting plans predicated on the nonsense that we can solve the problem without addressing its chemical causes. It’s fair enough at this point to attribute some of the blame to Canadian voters, who keep proving by their electoral choices that they want the government to express concern about climate change while not even meaningfully slowing down the pace at which we’re making it worse.

It also doesn’t help that the plan’s title sounds exactly like something the Harper government would have created. Climate change isn’t an issue of how “clean” the air is, and setting up clean air beside “strong economy” sticks to the narrative that good policy is about trading one against the other. That’s at best a distorted way of thinking about a fossil fuel dependency which threatens to undermine the very basis of human civilization. For people used to playing for only political stakes, gambling with the future of the whole species is outside of their training and conventional mindsets.

Author: Milan

In the spring of 2005, I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in International Relations and a general focus in the area of environmental politics. In the fall of 2005, I began reading for an M.Phil in IR at Wadham College, Oxford. Outside school, I am very interested in photography, writing, and the outdoors. I am writing this blog to keep in touch with friends and family around the world, provide a more personal view of graduate student life in Oxford, and pass on some lessons I've learned here.

7 thoughts on ““2030 Emissions Reduction Plan: Canada’s Next Steps for Clean Air and a Strong Economy””

  1. “The International Energy Agency’s NetZero Scenario sees continued oil and gas use globally, but with demand declining significantly in the coming decades. Competing in this future means not only diversifying our energy mix, but also offering lower carbon oil and gas to the world.”

    (p. 8)

    “There is an opportunity to transform the sector into the cleanest global oil and gas producer, while also moving to provide low-carbon and non-emitting energy products and services in a manner that will ensure economic competitiveness, prosperity, and create good jobs for Canadians.”

    (p. 25)

    “Developing a comprehensive CCUS Strategy to guide the development and deployment of CCUS technologies to mitigate GHG emissions from a range of industrial sectors in Canada, such as steel, cement, chemicals, and the oil and gas sector.”

    (p. 46)

    “Individual oil and gas players are setting ambitious climate goals. For example, Shell Global has set a target to reduce absolute emissions by 50% by 2030, relative to their 2016 baseline.

    The Oil Sands Pathways Alliance, which represents 95% of Canada’s oil sands production, was formed in order to keep the sector competitive in a decarbonizing economy by drastically reducing its carbon footprint to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.”

    (p. 50)

    “With a clear and collaborative plan, the sector can transform itself into the cleanest global oil and gas producers, while also moving to provide low-carbon and non-emitting energy products and services, such as low-carbon hydrogen, geothermal heat and power, carbon fiber, and asphaltenes.”

    (p. 54)

  2. But, all of the above is a long winding way of getting to the biggest head-shaking development of the week, the 270-page grand plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the pivotal fight against climate change.

    You can only hope these ambitious targets can be met because it’s vital for our planet’s future.

    But this is a far cry from a concrete plan. It’s barely a blueprint. More like a wish list sprinkled with pixie dust and REM-sleep levels of dreaming.

    Consider the biggest culprit, the oil sector, where emissions have increased by an eye-popping 137 per cent since 2005, even with coal-fired power plants being mothballed.

    The feds say the new target must see emissions suddenly drop by 42 per cent in just eight years, apparently forgetting their promise to boost Canadian oil and gas exports to Europe to help reduce its dependence on Russian energy.

    When asked how Canada’s oil patch could ramp up production to help Europe and still meet its dramatically reduced domestic emissions target, Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson declared that people “oversimplify these issues.”

    Canada, he said, must “walk and chew gum at the same time” by helping meet Europe’s post-Russian energy needs, while remaining on track for deep cuts in domestic emissions. Gosh. Look who’s simplifying now?


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