Climate change and net zero: Conservative Party’s climate plan

September 18, 2021  |  Charles Lin

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

The Canadian Liberal government has called a federal election for September 20, 2021. This is the fifth article in our series on the election, which focuses on the Conservative’s climate plan in the Conservative Party election platform.

Implement carbon pricing policy

  • Set consumer carbon price of $20/tonne, increasing to a cap of $50/tonne; the money raised would go to personalized savings accounts (“Personal Low Carbon Savings Account”) for purchase of green products such as bicycles or more efficient furnaces
  • Link industrial carbon price to that of Canada’s major trading partners (USA, European Union), with a border carbon adjustment
  • Assess progress after two years, and consider ramping industrial carbon price to $170/tonne by 2030 if pricing mechanisms worked out with trading partners do not put Canada on a path to fulfilling the Paris commitment

Invest in low-carbon technologies and natural climate solutions

  • $1 billion for electric vehicle manufacturing in Canada
  • $1 billion for hydrogen technology, including hydrogen vehicles
  • $5 billion for carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS), including direct air capture technology
  • $3 billion for natural climate solutions, focused on management of forest, crop and grazing lands, and restoration of grasslands, wetlands and forests

Implement mandates and regulations

  • Introduce a zero emission vehicle mandate, requiring 30% of light duty vehicles sold to be zero emissions by 2030
  • Introduce a renewable natural gas mandate, requiring 15% of downstream consumption of natural gas to be renewable by 2030
  • Finalize the Clean Fuel Regulations to reduce carbon emissions from gasoline and other liquid fuels

Deal with impacts of climate change

  • Appoint a high level national disaster resilience advisor for the Cabinet and the Prime Minister’s Office
  • Implement a national action plan on floods, including establishing a high risk residential flood insurance program
  • Develop and implement a national climate adaptation strategy that addresses flood readiness, wildfire and drought risks

What does all this mean?

The setting of targets is an important first step. A Conservative government, if elected, will commit to a less ambitious emissions target than the Liberals – 30% reduction below 2005 levels by 2030, instead of the Liberals’ 40-45%.

A notable aspect of the Conservative platform is support of carbon pricing; this is a change from the party’s earlier position which opposed such a pricing policy. The levels of carbon pricing are however not as ambitious as those of the Liberal party.

As with the current Liberal government, policy initiatives aimed at achieving the targets, and adapting to the inevitable impacts of climate change, are also needed. The successful development and implementation of these policy initiatives, such as the ones described above, will determine whether Canada meets its net zero goals.

Appendix: Election topics we have covered to date


Charles Lin

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.

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