NDC Transparency Check: Making Canada’s 2021 NDC more transparent

The Paris Agreement was agreed in 2015 at the 21st United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of the Parties (UNFCCC COP 21), and came into force a year later. Almost all countries are currently signatories of the Agreement.

The objective of the NDC Transparency Check is to provide a robust reference to assess whether the communication of Parties on the proposed mitigation in their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) is clear, transparent and understandable, in terms of the requirements set out in the Paris Agreement, its accompanying decision (1/CP.21) and the Annex to decision 4/CMA.1, which sets out the “information to facilitate clarity, transparency and understanding of nationally determined contributions”.

Legally, the Annex is only binding from the second NDC onwards. However, Parties are “strongly encouraged” to apply the Annex to updated NDCs, due 2020.

The Canadian government is revising the current NDC to update its commitment in relation to the Paris Agreement’s long-term goals, under the country’s specific circumstances. In this context, the NDC Transparency Check provides information to support the process of a revision, especially in relation to the clarity of the proposed mitigation outcomes. This could help not only to provide additional clarity on the Canada’s mitigation goals and their underlying policies and measures, but also to provide clarity on the likely collective outcome of mitigation efforts as committed to in the NDCs.

The detailed methodology as well as other assessment are available on: www.climate-transparency.org

Tourism and climate change: Evaluating the extent of policy integration

Climate change poses complex challenges and addressing these requires increasing integration across sectoral policy domains. A systematic assessment of global tourism and climate change policy coherence in 61 countries, by an international team including Daniel Scott,  found low integration, including obvious conflicts on future emissions. Considering tourism is one of the largest and fastest growing industries globally that is responsible for an estimated 8% of global emissions (higher in many countries) and that climate change is recognised as one of the greatest sustainable tourism challenges in this century, limited evidence of policy integration is astonishing.  At this point, tourism is mainly perceived as a vulnerable sector that requires adaptation, but policies that address the tourism’s carbon intensity are less common, despite the sector’s substantive carbon footprint. Overcoming the limited engagement between climate and tourism departments is fundamental for tourism to be part of the decarbonized and climate resilient economy of mid-century.

Global tourism vulnerability to climate change

The Covid-19 pandemic has brutally revealed the vulnerability of global tourism to travel disruption and the devastating impacts on the economies and progress on the Sustainable Development Goals in many countries.  Industry experts have poignantly stated that, “If you consider the potential long-term impacts of climate change on the world—and the world of travel—then the COVID-19 pandemic will likely come to be viewed as a very painful, tragic footnote.” Research by Daniel Scott and international colleagues reveals the global geography of tourism sector vulnerability to both carbon and climate risk. The highest levels of climate change vulnerability are in countries most dependant on the tourism economy and where tourism growth is expected to be the strongest in the next few decades. These climate change risks are not well understood and are not being considered by national climate change strategies or tourism development plans. That urgently needs to change if tourism is to remain an instrumental part of the economy of the future.  Without responses from the global community, climate change will pose a growing headwind against tourism development, compromising tourism competitiveness and its ability to contribute to the Sustainable Develop Goals in many developing countries.

Leading the unwilling: Unilateral strategies to prevent arctic oil exploration

The authors highlight the strategic role of technological spillovers—the fact that extraction becomes cheaper as more countries exploit the Arctic— in leaving Arctic fossil fuels untouched. To avoid an “Arctic snowball effect”, greener countries with access to the Arctic should coordinate on not exploiting the Arctic, which will keep barriers to entry high enough to discourage less environmentally concerned countries from entering. Calibration suggests Norway, or prospects of a future green U.S., could be pivotal. Canada also has an important role to play.

The Grid of the Future – How to make it good enough?

The Institut de l’énergie Trottier at Polytechnique Montréal, in collaboration with InnovÉÉ, IGEE and AIEQ, held a day-long workshop in Montreal in January 2019. Academics, industry and utilities representatives, and other stakeholders from Quebec and Ontario, had high-level discussions on how to address the challenge of creating the grid of the future.

Indigenous environmental justice and sustainability

This paper explains how a distinct formulation of Indigenous environmental justice (IEJ) is required to address the challenges of the ecological and climate crises, as well the various forms of violence and injustices experienced by Indigenous peoples. According to the authors, this distinct IEJ formulation must ground its foundations in Indigenous philosophies, ontologies, and epistemologies in order to reflect Indigenous conceptions of what constitutes justice. 

Canadian Energy Outlook 2018–Horizon 2050

Canadians need to start addressing the transformative potential of the energy transition, a potential with benefits that go beyond the sole impact on the energy sector. This Canadian Energy Outlook aims to initiate positive discussions on this transition and help identify the pathway for this crucial journey.

Energy issues have never been more important than they are today. Some of the pressing issues include the competitive exploitation of non-conventional fossil fuels; the efforts to diversify energy markets; the rapid cost reduction of intermittent renewable energy sources; the growing opposition to the construction of new energy transport infrastructures; and worldwide efforts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, over 80 per cent of which is produced by the energy sector in Canada.

While this Canadian Energy Outlook shows that the GHG reduction targets are attainable, neither the provinces nor the federal government are on track to deliver them. Many countries are addressing GHG reduction much more effectively than Canada; not only are they gaining economic advantages for the economy of both today and tomorrow, but they are also decreasing the need for costly reengineering in the decades to come.

This study, done in collaboration with e3Hub – HEC Montreal, was made possible with the financial support of the Trottier Family Foundation.

Energy Modelling Initiative

The purpose of this report is to demonstrate that while Canada has fallen behind in structuring an effective energy modelling effort that can support policy development, this kind of expertise is already widely developed in Canada. However, the resources that possess the expertise are scattered, which is costly for Canada.

Tourism and climate change mitigation embracing the Paris Agreement: pathways to decarbonisation

We all know that climate change is happening. It may seem remote to some of us, but in many of the world’s tourist destinations, it is now a reality. Tourism is both at risk from climate change, and one of its causes. This report is about how tourism can become part of the global solution, rather than part of the problem.

Commissioned by the European Travel Commission, it provides the first global analysis of the risks to the tourism industry from climate change. It is also a roadmap towards a low-carbon tourism economy, which will require nothing less than a revolution in the sector.

While it draws on high-level climate change expertise, it also contains the views and experience of 17 travel and tourism leaders, who acknowledge that the viability of some destinations is seriously threatened, and that business as usual is no longer possible.

This report does not pull its punches. The choices made today will determine the scale of climate change in the future. According to the World Economic Forum, failure to tackle climate change is the single biggest risk to the global economy.

A Case for Independant Expert Analysis and Advice in Support of Climate Policy Making in Canada

In support of the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and
Climate Change
, this document presents recommendations on how Canada can best engage with external experts to provide independent advice, informed by science and evidence, to First Ministers and decision makers.