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

Missing Port Alberni man found deceased

47-year-old had been missing since late June: RCMP

Longtime volunteer retires from Port Alberni’s Abbeyfield House

Doreen Bissette honoured for two decades of volunteerism

Savard prevails with best gross score at Alberni Golf Club

Men’s club prepares for ‘waltz’ on July 12

EDITORIAL: We need to check our ‘plate hate’

Suspicious border activity can be reported

Feds announce $8.3M to deal with ‘ghost’ fishing gear in B.C. waters

Ghost gear accounts for up to 70 per cent of all macro-plastics in the ocean by weight

B.C. identifies 20 new COVID-19 cases, travellers specified in count

Pandemic total 3,028 cases, 51 people from outside Canada

Campaign aims to raise $50K for young family of deceased Vancouver Island skydiver

James Smith, 34, died July 5 following incident in Nanoose Bay

Survey, hotline launched amid probe into racist blood-alcohol guessing game at B.C. hospital

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond has been appointed to lead an investigation by Health Minister Adrian Dix

Canadian policing organization calls for decriminalization of simple illicit drug possession

Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police want policing focus of opioid crisis to be replaced with a health one

B.C. ports part of data integration project to protect marine ecosystems

The $1.2 M federally funded program will draw crucial baseline data from Canada’s three coastlines

Filing deadline in RCMP sexual-harassment class-action extended due to COVID-19

Plaintiffs now have until January 2021 to submit claims for up to $222,000

Jamie Bacon pleads guilty to charge in Surrey Six case

The plea brings an end to a complex legal case that has spanned more than a decade

Hefty undeclared driver charges piling up, ICBC warns customers

Average extra penalty $2,971 after an at-fault accident

RCMP disarm man experiencing mental health crisis

The male pulled a knife on officers and then held it to his own throat expressing a desire to die

Most Read