What does the Canadian 2021 election mean for climate change and net zero?

October 5, 2021  |  Charles Lin

Image by Wokandapix from Pixabay

Image by Wokandapix from Pixabay

The Canadian federal election was held on September 20, 2021. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was elected with a mandate to lead a minority Liberal government, the same mandate the Liberals had before the election. In this article, we summarize the key points from the election, focusing on climate change and net zero aspects.

Election results favour carbon pricing

95% of voters supported one of the major five parties: Liberals, Conservatives, New Democratic, Greens, Bloc Québécois. All five parties had a climate plan with varying emission targets and commitments, and supported some form of carbon pricing. This means the vast majority of Canadians now support carbon pricing, a significant increase from the two-thirds voter support of this policy in the 2019 election.

Liberals continue to implement the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act

The Canadian Senate passed the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act in June 2021, shortly before the election. This Act enshrines in law Canada’s commitment to reach net zero by 2050, and requires the federal government to set national targets for greenhouse gas emission reductions. 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% reduction below 2005 emission levels. The Act also mandates a Net Zero Advisory Body to provide independent advice on targets and plans; the Advisory Body released its first report in June 2021.

Liberals to deliver on election commitments

  • Cap emissions from the oil and gas industry with recurring 5-year targets to reach net zero by 2050
  • All new light-duty cars and passenger trucks sold be zero emissions by 2035
  • Fund programs in regional economic diversification and job training to help workers and communities transition to a net zero economy
  • Continue to implement adaptation initiatives to help Canadians adapt to extreme weather events as floods, wildfires, drought, and coastal erosion

What can Canadians do?

As consumers, we can reduce our carbon footprint, and use our purchasing dollars to promote low-carbon products and services. As citizens, we can influence our friends and members of our communities on the need and urgency of emission reductions as individuals and as a collective.

The coming months and years will be crucial in Canada’s net zero journey. We have an opportunity to shape this journey through our actions, and our website can help. Please stay tuned and get going!

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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