Canada's Action on Climate Change

Last updated: 5 November 2017
Canada has set a national target to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, inscribed in the Copenhagen Accord. The Government of Canada's approach on climate change is based on alignment with the U.S., as appropriate for the Canadian context, given the integration of the North American economy. To achieve its reduction target, the Government of Canada is pursuing a sector-by-sector regulatory approach to address GHG emissions from major-emitting sectors. Steps have already been taken to address GHG emissions from the transportation and electricity sectors, two of the largest sources of GHG emissions in Canada. GHG emissions standards are in place for new cars and light trucks (2011-16 model years). More stringent GHG standards are being developed for cars and light duty trucks (2017-2025 model years). A requirement is also in place (as of December 2010) for an average of 5% renewable fuel content in gasoline and, as of July 2011, 2% renewable fuel content for diesel and heating oil. Standards are also being developed to reduce GHG emissions from new on-road heavy-duty vehicles of the 2014 and later model years; proposed regulations were published in April 2012. The Government of Canada also published proposed regulations to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired electricity generation in August 2011. These are expected to be finalized in 2012, and would come into effect in 2015. The Government is now moving forward to address GHG emissions for other major-emitting sectors, including the oil and gas sector. 2012 projections show that existing and announced federal measures, combined with actions by the provinces and territories on climate change, are expected to bring Canada 2020 emissions to 720 megatonnes, or half way to meeting the 17 percent target.

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