Canada approves Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act
July 20, 2021 | Charles Lin
Image by 3D Animation Production Company from Pixabay
On June 29, 2021, the Canadian Senate passed the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act. The Act enshrines in law Canada’s commitment to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
The Act requires the federal government to set national targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, with the objective of reaching net zero emissions by 2050. The targets are to be set for 2030, 2035, 2040 and 2045. The first target for 2030 aligns with Canada’s commitment under the Paris Agreement, which will be 40-45% below 2005 emission levels. Subsequent targets will be set every five years, at least 10 years in advance of the target date.
The Act will
- create a framework for detailed climate policy planning and progress reporting and assessment;
- require an emissions reduction plan, a progress report, and an assessment report for each target;
- mandate a Net Zero Advisory Body to provide independent advice on targets and plans;
- require the government to take into account the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in target setting and planning;
- provide for public participation in the planning process;
- mandate a comprehensive review of the Act five years after its adoption.
To meet its commitment for the 2030 target, the government will publish in the coming months an emissions reduction plan, which will include a 2026 emissions reduction objective.
Why is the Act important? Canada has missed previous climate targets, and the Act marks the first time the government has legislated emissions reductions accountability for Canada to reach net zero by 2050. This is a significant step in this journey. This is only a first step, as there is still a long way from a mandate to developing targets and plans, to implementing credible plans to reach net zero.
We will monitor progress on this net zero journey and provide updates on our website. We will also provide input into the planning process at the appropriate times. Stay tuned, and please join us in these efforts!
Charles is a retired atmospheric scientist based in Toronto. He stays busy as founder and lead of ImpactNetZero, keeping healthy in mind and body, and reading stories to his two grandchildren.