A Climate Change Plan for the Purposes of the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act -- May 2009

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Provincial and Territorial Collaboration and Action

Provincial and territorial governments, which control many of the levers for taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in key sectors, are pursuing many initiatives to achieve that goal. Combined with the activities of the Federal Government, over 1,200 climate change initiatives are underway across Canada. There is a wide diversity in the nature of initiatives, with a significant focus on mitigation. Other areas of focus include planning, management and regulations, adaptation, and education and awareness. Of actions focused on mitigation, the largest cluster of these is related to energy efficiency and conservation.

While there are some commonalities, approaches to climate change activities vary between provinces and territories. British Columbia and Quebec are pursuing carbon taxes; British Columbia announced the details of its tax on July 1, 2008. Alberta and Saskatchewan are pursuing regulatory frameworks. In 2007, Alberta passed the Climate Change Emissions Management Amendment Act to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from large industry. Together, Alberta and Saskatchewan are investing over $2 billion in carbon capture and storage technology. Ontario is phasing out the use of all coal-fired power plants, which will eliminate 30 megatonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year6. British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec, along with several American states, are part of the Western Climate Initiative, which aims to create a carbon market.

Federal Collaborative Initiatives

This section on federal collaborative initiatives addresses the descriptive requirements of paragraph 5 (1) (a) (iv) of the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act to include measures respecting cooperative measures or agreements with provinces, territories or other governments as well as paragraphs 5 (1) (b) (i) and (ii).

In Budget 2007, the federal government put in place an important instrument for collaboration across jurisdictions on climate change policy. Under the $1.5 Billion Clean Air and Climate Change Trust fund, a trust has been established to support those provinces and territories that identify major projects that will result in real reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutants. For example:

It is important to note that while the Government of Canada has provided the funding to provincial and territorial governments through the Trust, it is provincial and territorial governments themselves that are responsible for allocating the funds to specific programs. Since the federal government does not determine precisely how these funds are used, there is an intrinsic uncertainty in calculating the number of emission reductions expected to result from the Trust Fund. In the coming year, the Government of Canada will work with its provincial and territorial partners to more effectively quantify reductions associated with the Trust Fund.

Clean Air and Climate Change Trust Fund
Year 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Preliminary Expected Reductions (Mt) 16 16 16 16 16

Investing in Clean Energy Development

Enabling the development, demonstration and deployment of clean energy technologies, including carbon capture and storage (CCS), is an integral component of Canada’s domestic and continental efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Canada’s Economic Action Plan commits $1 billion over five years to establish a Clean Energy Fund, which will enable clean energy research and demonstration projects, including carbon capture and storage (CCS). The funding provided in Canada’s Economic Action Plan builds on previous investments in clean energy made through Budget 2008 to increase the development and deployment of CCS. The Government of Canada provided $240 million to the Province of Saskatchewan to partner with industry to implement a full-scale commercial demonstration of CCS in the coal-fired electricity sector. Along with this, Budget 2008 provided $5 million to the Institute for Sustainable Energy, Environment and Economy at the University of Calgary to work with a broad range of stakeholders on these outstanding issues, and $5 million to support geological research in Nova Scotia to examine the potential for carbon storage in that province.

It will be critical that the Government of Canada and the country’s provincial and territorial governments continue to work together to make the progress on the clean energy production technologies necessary for Canada to meet its greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals. The Governments of Alberta and Saskatchewan in particular have taken great recent strides in investing in clean energy solutions, setting aside a collective total of more than $2.5 billion for such purposes.

It is expected that emission reductions from these initiatives will not be realized until after 2012.

Target for Clean Electricity Generation

To help meet the challenge posed by climate change, Canada will also need to make greater use of technologies that do not emit greenhouse gases. The Government will set an objective that 90 percent of Canada’s electricity needs be provided by non-emitting sources such as hydro, nuclear, clean coal or wind power by 2020. Canada already has one of the cleanest electricity systems in the world, with 73 percent of the country’s electricity currently coming from non-carbon emitting sources – the two most prevalent of which are hydro and nuclear power.

6 The emission reduction impact of provincial actions such as Quebec’s Carbon Levy, British Columbia’s Carbon Tax and Alberta’s Industrial Regulations are included for the purposes of reporting.

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