Canada

The New Democratic Party’s climate platform

September 18, 2021  |  James 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 sixth article in our series on the election, which focuses on the climate component in the New Democratic Party’s (NDP) platform.

The NDP platform opens with a reference to this summer’s extreme weather events, and criticizes the Liberals’ and Conservatives’ lack of action in the face of the crisis. It makes the following recommendations.

Climate leadership and net zero

  • The NDP takes partial credit for the Net Zero Emissions Accountability Act (read our article), going back to Jack Layton’s climate advocacy.
  • Emissions should drop by 50% below 2005 levels by 2030.
  • Putting a price on carbon will be important, as will be closing the Liberal government’s “loopholes”.
  • Halt all oil & gas subsidies, and redirect funds towards low-carbon initiatives such as renewables and electrification. Ensure through legislation that future governments cannot revive the subsidies.

Job creation

  • Help workers transition into a low-carbon economy through retraining and job placement.
  • Make available recovery funding for businesses, conditional on agreeing to net zero goals.
  • Support clean technology innovation in Canada.

Infrastructure retrofits

  • Retrofit all buildings in Canada by 2050 to improve energy efficiency, and require all buildings built from 2025 onwards to be net zero.
  • Help communities to deal with extreme weather events.

Transportation

  • Expand transit, including zero-emissions buses and electric trains. Help provide fare-free transit for interested municipalities. Promote walking and cycling.
  • Increase zero-emissions vehicle incentives to $15,000 per family for vehicles made in Canada, and expand charging infrastructure.

Carbon-free communities

  • Target nation-wide net zero electricity by 2030 (such as generation from emitting sources paired with carbon capture), and 100% non-emitting electricity by 2040.
  • Create a Canadian Climate Bank to promote investment in renewables and energy efficiency, and to facilitate inter-provincial power grids.
  • Promote community-owned clean energy projects.

What does all this mean?

The NDP separately outlined a carbon tax plan in line with that of the Liberals’, rising to $170 per tonne by 2030. The NDP platform is ambitious, though details on implementation or feasibility are missing. It also omits details such as the nature of loopholes it claims the Liberal government is allowing. Given that the federal NDP has never formed government before, they are understandably inexperienced at making or implementing policy beyond the theoretical stage.

Appendix: Election topics we have covered to date

James Lin

James is the son of INZ founder Charles. He has a PhD in economics from the University of Alberta, and his day job is with Alberta Energy. The views expressed on this site do not reflect those of his employer.

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