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COP26 represents another step forward, with still more path to walk

Photo by: COP26

VICTORIA — Merran Smith, executive director at Clean Energy Canada, made the following statement after the conclusion of COP26:

“Following COP26, Canada was one of nearly 200 countries to endorse the new Glasgow Climate Pact, a meaningful if imperfect step forward in global efforts to fight climate change. 

“While the new pact represents real progress, it also fell short on several fronts. Specifically, language on phasing out coal and fossil fuel subsidies was watered down at the last minute. It was also disappointing to see that rich nations fell short of their commitment to provide US$100 billion in climate financing to developing countries.

“In addition to signing the pact, Canada made a number of important commitments, including promising to end all investment in new coal power generation at home and internationally and to stop financing fossil fuel projects abroad by the end of the year. It also reiterated promises made in the run up to the last election, including banning the sale of fossil fuel-powered passenger cars and light-duty trucks from 2035 and ensuring that all electricity is emissions-free by the same year.

“Let’s be clear: the elephant is still very much in the room. Canada’s climate ambitions continue to be at odds with its position as the world’s fourth-largest crude oil producer. The oil and gas sector is Canada’s biggest source of carbon pollution, and we cannot limit the worst effects of climate change while growing that industry. 

“As such, it was encouraging to see Prime Minister Trudeau clarify that Canada’s oil and gas emissions will be capped at ‘today’s levels.’ We look forward to more details on how this will be implemented.

“It was also promising to see global collaboration on clean technology development, with Canada signing on to the Glasgow Breakthroughs, which aim to make key climate solutions like green hydrogen and near-zero emissions steel ‘accessible and affordable’ by 2030. With one of the world’s cleanest electricity supplies and access to many of the necessary metal and mineral resources, Canada is well positioned to be a leader in many of these growing industries. 

“More important than pacts and pledges is the action that underpins them. We anticipate Canadian and international governments alike will take swift action to implement and expand on promises made over the last fortnight. With just over eight years to go before 2030, the next six months will be critical, and we expect key measures to move forward imminently.”

KEY FACTS

  • Canada was one of 15 countries to agree to set targets to make 30% of new buses and truck sales zero-emission by 2030 and 100% by 2040. 
  • Canada has committed to stop financing fossil fuel projects abroad by the end of 2022.
  • Canada was one of 46 countries to sign up to the Global Coal to Clean Power Transition Statement to phase out coal in the 2030s (for rich countries) and 2040s (for developing countries). 
  • The Bank of Canada used the conference as a platform to make new climate change commitments that will see it better assess climate-related risks to Canada’s economy.
  • Canada reiterated a number of existing climate promises, including ensuring that 100% of new passenger vehicle sales be zero-emission by 2035 and that all electricity generation be emissions-free by 2035.
  • Canada also participated in several side deals including:
  • Analysis published during the talks found that short-term pledges (rather than mid-century net zero targets) would put the world on track for heating of 2.4C or more, although longer term promises could possibly restrict heating to 1.8C.
  • Polling released during the summit found that Canada’s newly announced climate policies are broadly popular among Canadians, with almost two-thirds supporting the oil and gas cap. 

RESOURCES

Blog | The Glasgow Climate Pact: What does it mean for Canada’s climate policy?

Media brief | COP26 and the implications for Canada

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