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Net-Zero Advisory Body outlines pathways to Net Zero by 2050

July 30, 2021 | Charles Lin

Image by jplenio from Pixabay

Image by jplenio from Pixabay

We explained in an earlier post the Canadian government passed the Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act in June 2021. The Act mandated the Net-Zero Advisory Body (NZAB) to provide independent advice to the government on pathways to reach net zero by 2050.

NZAB released its first report, “Net-Zero Pathways: Initial Observations”, which summarizes existing domestic and international pathways to net zero. The report is foundational and high-level, and is targeted at Canadians who want to better understand these pathways.

What are the key findings?

Five Values

The report identifies five values for likely pathways for Canada to reach net zero. These pathways

  • have broad benefits – for individuals, families, workers, businesses, and society as a whole;
  • support a just and fair transition;
  • aim for a future that is desirable in itself, for reasons beyond greenhouse gas emissions reduction and removals;
  • are built collaboratively and grounded in real-world experience;
  • prioritize location-specific solutions, understanding there is no one-size-fits-all approach for Canada.

Common Elements

The likely pathways have common elements among them.

  • The long-term goal of reaching net zero by 2050 must be front and centre – shorter term efforts before 2050 must not become later liabilities;
  • Early investments in emissions reduction will be more cost effective over the long run;
  • Carbon budgets are used as a basic tool;
  • Decisive government leadership and investment by the private sector are needed;
  • Electrification and energy efficiency are fundamental;
  • Emission reductions are prioritized, with emission removal and offsets used when necessary.

Inclusivity and Fairness

The report also emphasizes inclusion, fairness and justice in future climate actions. This means taking into account displaced workers in the transition to a low-carbon economy, First Nations concerns, and environmental justice movements.

What’s Next?

The next step for NZAB will be to establish key priorities or “lines of inquiry” for the first year. The year 1 timeline covering 2021-22 will also include launch of research and engagement activities, and release of its first annual report in 2022.

The 28-page report includes a list of references for further consultation.

We will follow net zero developments in NZAB activities, and at the broader federal government level as well. Stay tuned for future posts!

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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