The construction site of the hydroelectric facility at Muskrat Falls, Newfoundland and Labrador is seen on Tuesday, July 14, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

Feds tell UN they’re on track to meet climate goals for power generation

About 536 terrawatts of electricity will come from hydro, nuclear and renewables by 2030: report

Canada appears poised to rack up a climate-change win, says a recent government report submitted to the United Nations.

The federal report filed last month says Canada is on track to meet one of its crucial climate-change commitments — generating at least 90 per cent of non-industrial electricity from emissions-free sources by 2030.

“Yes, it’s good news,” said David Sawyer of the Smart Prosperity Institute, a University of Ottawa research and policy institute.

“It shows the provinces and federal government have been doing a lot and they’ve somehow managed to do more than we thought they could do.”

The report projects that by 2030, about 536 terrawatts of electricity will come from hydro, nuclear and renewable generation. It predicts only 55 terrawatts will be produced from fossil fuels.

That doesn’t include power generated by industry for its own use. About 44 per cent of that is expected to come from non-emitting sources, but the total amount generated is much smaller.

The assessment is based on policies already in place and at least partly implemented. If projections come to pass, it will mean releases from power utilities — one of Canada’s major emissions sources — will have declined by 80 per cent since 2005.

“We’ve knocked almost 100 megatonnes off our target,” Sawyer said. “It’s a very significant reduction since 2005.”

As late as last year, Canada was expected to reach 85 per cent emissions-free utility generation — another in a list of expected shortfalls in the country’s international commitments.

Sawyer attributes most of the extra cuts to better hydro connections between provinces and new federal rules that assign carbon costs to natural gas.

“That’s the reason we’re on track,” he said.

The projected success proves that effective climate change legislation can combine regulations and carbon taxes, Sawyer said. Regulations forced the closure of coal-fired generation, but taxes made the final push.

“This argument either/or, regulation or carbon tax, is not really the way governments are doing regulation,” Sawyer said. “We need both and we are using both.”

Overall, Canada will still have a long way to go.

READ MORE: Canadian airlines feel the pressure of flight-shaming and the ‘Greta effect’

Current policies are expected to drive the country’s emissions down to 673 megatonnes by 2030. The target is 511 megatonnes.

The report to the UN promises further climate change measures such as a clean fuel standard that is aimed at getting Canada to within 77 megatonnes of its goal. But the document offers no firm answers on closing that final gap.

Canada has committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 and has promised to be carbon neutral by 2050.

Bob Weber, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Climate change

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Geotechnical work set to get underway at Rossland Museum

Crews will be working at the museum from June 1 to 12

Trail Smoke Eaters owner awaits word on BCHL future

Smoke Eaters owner Rich Murphy is hopeful that the BCHL will return to the ice in the fall

City of Rossland asks motorists to be mindful of four bears roaming around Trail hill

The bears have been seen multiple times along the highway this month

Young farmers find a home through land-matching program

Young Agrarians links would-be farmers with landowners who have land to spare

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto vying to be NHL hubs, but there’s a catch

The NHL unveiled a return-to-play plan that would feature 24 teams

B.C. sees 9 new COVID-19 cases, one death as officials watch for new cases amid Phase Two

Number of confirmed active cases is at 244, with 37 people in hospital

Nanaimo senior clocked going 50 km/hr over limit says her SUV shouldn’t be impounded

RCMP say they can’t exercise discretion when it comes to excessive speeding tickets

Illicit-drug deaths up in B.C. and remain highest in Canada: chief coroner

More than 4,700 people have died of overdoses since B.C. declared a public health emergency in early 2016

CMHC sees declines in home prices, sales, starts that will linger to end of 2022

CMHC said average housing prices could fall anywhere from nine to 18 per cent in its forecast

B.C. Paralympian named to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame

Three-time world and Paralympic gold medalist Sonja Gaudet is part of 11-member class

Restorative pole project underway in Edgewood

The pole was made almost 50 years ago to pay respect to local First Nations

Most Read