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

Bachrach rejects calls for police action against demonstrators

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP says only way out of crisis is “true nation-to-nation” talks

Coast Mountain College appoints a new president

The promotion came from within the school

Coastal GasLink pipeline investor committed to closing deal despite protests

Developer TC Energy Corp. — formerly TransCanada Corp. — is to remain the operator of the $6.6-billion pipeline

College finds a new president

Promotion comes from within

Blending traditional art with realistic life-form

Haida Gwaii artist, Josh Davidson on display at ANBT

Blair says RCMP have met Wet’suwet’en conditions, so barricades should come down

The Wet’suwet’en’s hereditary chiefs oppose the Coastal GasLink project

New Jamie Bacon trial for counselling to commit murder charge set for March 3

The trial is set to start on March 3 at B.C. Supreme Court

Federal minister pledges to meet Wet’suwet’en chiefs in B.C. over natural gas pipeline

The Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say they are visiting Mohawk territory

2010 leader John Furlong urges Vancouver to bid for 2030 Winter Games

VANOC said the 2010 games broke even financially

Pipeline dispute: Tories put no-confidence motion on House of Commons agenda

Conservatives say they have no confidence in the Trudeau government to end the rail blockades

Canadians aboard coronavirus-ridden cruise ship to return home tonight

Among the infected are 47 Canadians who will have to remain in Japan for treatment

Galchenyuk nets shootout winner as Wild edge Canucks 4-3

Vancouver tied with Calgary for second spot in NHL’s Pacific Division

B.C.’s soda drink tax will help kids lose weight, improve health, says doctor

Dr. Tom Warshawski says studies show sugary drinks contribute to obesity

Most Read