Canada’s economy already hurt by climate change, households hit hardest

OTTAWA, September 28, 2022—A report released today by the Canadian Climate Institute shows that the mounting costs of a volatile climate are already dragging down Canada’s economy, with these costs rising swiftly in the coming years. The report—Damage Control: Reducing the costs of climate impacts in Canada—examines the macroeconomic costs of climate change, assessing them in both low- and -high emissions scenarios relative to a stable-climate scenario. The analysis shows that climate impacts will cost Canada billions, making life less and less affordable for households as economic growth slows, governments raise taxes to pay for climate disasters, job losses increase, and goods become more expensive due to disrupted supply chains.

The report, which is a culmination of a five-report series and the most comprehensive macroeconomic analysis of climate change in Canada to date, also presents solutions. Proactive adaptation measures and policies can limit climate change damage, cutting the projected costs in half, saving billions of dollars, and making life more affordable for households. A dollar invested in proactive adaptation measures, the report finds, can return $13-$15 in direct and indirect benefits. And if adaptation measures are combined with global emissions reductions, future costs could be reduced by three-quarters, putting Canada on a path to a more stable and affordable future.

Key findings from Damage Control:

  • Climate-induced damages are already here and they’re adding up. By 2025, climate impacts will be slowing Canada’s economic growth by $25 billion annually, which is equal to 50 per cent of projected GDP growth.
  • All households will lose income, and low-income households will suffer the most. Low-income households could see income losses of 12 per cent in a low emissions scenario and 19 percent in a high emissions scenario by the end of the century—markedly higher losses than the median income group. 
  • Climate change is a job-killer. Job losses could double by mid-century, and increase to 2.9 million by end-of-century.
  • Adaption pays off big. Every dollar spent on adaptation measures saves $13-$15, including both direct and indirect economy-wide benefits. 
  • Limiting further warming, while adapting to the warming already baked in, pays off bigger. Taking proactive adaptation measures cuts climate costs in half, and if these are combined with global mitigation measures, then costs are cut by three-quarters. 

QUOTATIONS

“The findings couldn’t be clearer: Canada is directly in the crosshairs of a changing climate. The economy is highly sensitive to this threat, and we’re already paying the costs: as early as 2025, the damages will have cut Canada’s growth rate in half. We need to reckon with these massive costs and do everything we can to limit the damage.”

—Dave Sawyer, Principal Economist, Canadian Climate Institute

“The cost of inaction when it comes to climate change is measurable and mounting. We need to put adaptation and mitigation measures in place now to avoid severe damage to our economy, society, health, and well-being.”

—Rick Smith, President, Canadian Climate Institute

“The economic consequences of climate change are only now coming into view, and this report provides thoughtful insights on just how climate change could impact the Canadian economy. The threat is real, but, fortunately, there’s much that can be done to limit the damages. Investing in adaptation and resilience today will help protect Canada’s economy and could save lives. Taking proactive adaptation measures can cut the costs of climate change impacts and provide a strong return on investment, saving money in the long-term while paving the way for a more sustainable and prosperous future for Canadians.”

—Susan McGeachie, Head of BMO Climate Institute, BMO Financial Group

RESOURCES

WEBINAR

Join the Canadian Climate Institute for a webinar on September 29 at 1:00 pm ET focused on how we can contain the economic damage of climate impacts. Register now for Damage Control: How adaptation policy can help Canada get ready for the economic cost of climate change.

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CONTACT

Catharine Tunnacliffe

Director of Communications

ctunnacliffe@climateinstitute.ca

(416) 527-1777

Climate change will devastate infrastructure across Northern Canada without immediate, significant investment: new report

OTTAWA, 14 June 2022—A new report from the Canadian Climate Institute reveals that climate change will devastate Northern infrastructure, threatening lives and livelihoods across the territories and the northern regions of large provinces. Because of the accumulated impacts of colonial policies and historic underinvestment, the poor condition of Northern infrastructure leaves it uniquely vulnerable, particularly with the North warming three times faster than the global average. Due North: Facing the costs of climate change for Northern infrastructure analyzes the need and the opportunity to rethink infrastructure in the North, advancing policies and investments to better serve Northerners and to prepare Northern infrastructure for the effects of climate change.

Due North provides new analysis on the costs of permafrost thaw damage to paved roads, runways, and buildings, including the first permafrost thaw projections for the entire North. It also examines the impacts of warming temperatures on the future viability of winter roads. In recognition of the importance of understanding the experiences of those who are already living through climate change in the North, the report presents first-hand accounts of the social and cultural impacts of climate-related infrastructure failure and disrepair through interviews with Northerners in six communities.

Due North finds that early and ongoing investments in infrastructure adaptation can substantially reduce costs and protect communities. For example:  

  • Properly adapting paved roads could reduce annual costs by 38 to 42 per cent on average in Yukon and Northwest Territories. 
  • Adapting airport runways for climate change impacts could reduce annual costs by 74 to 88 per cent on average, depending on the global greenhouse gas emissions trajectory. 

But in the long run, much of the North’s existing infrastructure cannot practically be protected from climate change. Governments must make transformative investments in new infrastructure that can sustain Northern lives and livelihoods for generations to come.

Quotes

 “With the North warming significantly faster than the rest of Canada, the longstanding reality of significant infrastructure deficits is now even more exacerbated. Canada cannot afford the severe consequences of the North remaining unprepared for the infrastructure costs of climate change.

— Tosh Southwick, owner of IRP consulting, Kluane First Nation citizen, Canadian Climate Institute Board member, and Yukoner. 

Infrastructure investments in the North will be essential to Canada’s overall success in adapting  to climate change. Northern communities should be supported in supplying their knowledge, leadership, and ingenuity to plan, design, and build infrastructure that meets their needs. The importance of adaptation in the North and the empowerment of Northerners should be highlighted in Canada’s forthcoming National Adaptation Strategy.” 

— Ryan Ness, Adaptation Research Direction, Canadian Climate Institute

Poor infrastructure is not an inevitability of Northern living: it’s a choice that Canada has repeatedly made. Many other countries with populated Northern regions like Greenland, Alaska, and Norway have made different choices and do not face the double-barrelled problem of an existing infrastructure gap meeting extreme climate warming. But it’s not too late to fix the infrastructure deficit, and the good news is that the right kinds of investments today will save money and sustain Northern lives and livelihoods in the long run.

—Dylan Clark, Senior Research Associate, Canadian Climate Institute

Resources

This report is the fourth installment in the Climate Institute’s series on the costs of climate change. Other reports on this topic include Tip of the Iceberg, The Health Costs of Climate Change, and Under Water. The final report, a macroeconomic study, will be published in September 2022. 

About the Canadian Climate Institute

We are Canada’s independent climate policy research organization, providing evidence-based policy analysis and advice to decision makers across the country.

Contact

Catharine Tunnacliffe

Director of Communications, Canadian Climate Institute

ctunnacliffe@climateinstitute.ca

(226) 212-9883

Clean electricity can unlock affordable, secure energy while addressing climate change: report

OTTAWA, May 4, 2022—A new report finds that modernizing Canada’s electricity systems can play a central role in ensuring affordable, secure energy in the face of global volatility—while also advancing Canada’s climate goals. With co-ordinated federal and provincial action, a “big switch” from fossil fuels to clean electricity can make energy more affordable while laying the foundation for a sustainable and prosperous future. 

The report from the Canadian Climate Institute, The Big Switch: Powering Canada’s net zero future, finds that without co-ordinated action from provincial and federal governments to build bigger, cleaner, and smarter electricity systems, Canada’s low-carbon transition could be much bumpier. Fortunately, the report finds, the technologies needed are available and affordable, and the policy solutions are readily at hand.

Key findings of the report include:

  • The big switch will increase affordability for Canadians when it’s powered by the right policies. Rapidly declining costs of renewables and storage makes electricity more affordable than volatile fossil fuels. Smart, co-ordinated policy can build the bigger, cleaner, and smarter electricity systems that can power this promise. 
  • Aligning electricity systems with net zero—by making them bigger, cleaner, and smarter—is both necessary and achievable. These systems can reliably and affordably power Canada’s economy and the broader transition to net zero.
  • The most significant barriers to the big switch are social, political, and institutional. Policy needs to address both the technical and non-technical barriers to the deployment and uptake of key solutions.

Quotes

“The big switch from fossil fuels to clean electricity is key to reducing Canada’s emissions. Making our electricity systems bigger, cleaner and smarter to deliver on this is completely feasible—and Canada already has a head start. With co-ordinated action by federal and provincial governments, Canadians can power more and more of their lives using clean, affordable, and reliable electricity.” 

—Jason Dion, lead author and Director of Mitigation Research, Canadian Climate Institute

“Transforming Canada’s electricity systems is necessary to achieve net zero. We have much to do, and limited time to do it. The technologies to build bigger, cleaner, and smarter systems are known and cost-effective, but there remain policy and regulatory barriers that are slowing progress. Utilities and other market actors need clear climate policies, and the role of regulators and system operators in the transition needs to be clearly laid out. Governments have a driving role in addressing these challenges and accelerating the big switch.” —Francis Bradley, President & Chief Executive Officer at Electricity Canada.

“Energy security, energy affordability, and climate change are all top of mind for Canadians right now. The big switch to clean electricity can help with all three, if we move quickly and get the policies right. The path is clear, the technology is affordable and available, and the benefits are considerable. Co-ordinated action from federal and provincial governments is how we get there.”

—Rick Smith, President, Canadian Climate Institute

“Increasing our clean energy would support Canadian industry’s competitiveness, because relying on fossil fuels leaves us exposed to swings in global commodity cycles. With the cost of wind and solar energy dropping, these technologies represent real opportunities to produce clean and affordable electricity while decoupling energy prices from global commodity prices. Increasing the supply of non-emitting power means unlocking investment at a time when global investors and capital markets are paying increasing attention to greenhouse gas emissions.” 

– Barb Zvan, President and Chief Executive Officer, University Pension Plan

Additional information

About the Canadian Climate Institute

We are Canada’s independent climate policy research organization, providing evidence-based policy analysis and advice to decision makers across the country. 

Contact

Catharine Tunnacliffe

Director of Communications

(226) 212-9883

Federal climate plan credible as long as policies quickly follow, says independent assessment

OTTAWA, 5 April 2022 – Independent assessment and modelling from the Canadian Climate Institute concludes the federal government’s 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan is credible, but its success will depend on accelerating the implementation of a handful of specific policies. Specifically, the Climate Institute’s analysis shows that the Plan’s success relies on five critical policies, which will together account for nearly two-thirds of the emissions reductions needed to meet the 2030 milestone: continued tightening of Canada’s carbon pricing regime, an oil and gas cap, a Clean Electricity Standard, policies for land-use emissions reductions, and a strengthened Clean Fuel Standard. 

“Our independent assessment found the government’s plan to be comprehensive and credible—but time is short, the goal is necessarily ambitious, and hitting that goal is of crucial importance to Canada’s future security and prosperity,” said Rick Smith, President of the Canadian Climate Institute. “If the federal government focuses its energies on getting five policies right, then Canada will be on a promising trajectory towards meeting its 2026 objective and its 2030 milestone.”

Emissions Reduction Plans are a new and important planning tool for the federal government, with subsequent plans to be released every five years under the federal government’s net zero accountability law. In early March 2022, the Canadian Climate Institute released a framework for assessing Canada’s Emissions Reduction Plans. This framework formed the basis of the report released today, which analyzes and independently validates the federal government’s first Emissions Reduction Plan.

“The government’s focus now has to shift to implementation,” said Dave Sawyer, principal economist at the Canadian Climate Institute. “According to our calculations, at least 43 per cent of the emissions reductions are accounted for from policies that have been announced but that still need to be developed. Ultimately, Canada’s success in achieving its emissions milestones will depend not on the credibility of planned policies or modelled outcomes, but on how, and how quickly, the government’s chosen policies are actually implemented.”

The Climate Institute’s independent assessment tempered its positive assessment of the government’s plan with a few notes of caution. In particular, the assessment warned that the many policies included in the 2030 Plan may overlap and could lead to increased costs without driving the necessary emissions reductions.

“The sheer number of policies included in the 2030 Plan could be double-edged,” said Dale Beugin, Vice-President of Research at the Canadian Climate Institute. “Interactions among overlapping policies can sometimes impair performance. So it’s also vital that the government commit to tracking emissions information and adjusting policies as needed.”

Additional information

Contact

Catharine Tunnacliffe

Director of Communications

(226) 212-9883

Initial response on Canada’s 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan

Rick Smith, President of the Canadian Climate Institute, issued the following initial statement in response to today’s publication of the federal government’s 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan:

“This is a watershed moment for Canadian climate policy. For the first time ever, Canada has a comprehensive and detailed plan for meeting its emissions reduction targets. The plan includes necessary elements such as a path forward for implementation, accountability mechanisms to help course correct, and a sector-by-sector approach.”

“A plan is just a plan without action. Expedited implementation will be key to success, and Canada now needs to shift into high gear.”

“The Institute’s framework for Canada’s Emissions Reduction Plans determined that a robust approach needs three core elements: a credible path to net zero, credible policies to get there, and adaptive processes to ensure timely adjustments along the way. In the coming days, we will publish a detailed analysis of the federal plan to independently assess if it puts Canada on track to meet our emissions reduction obligations.

Experts at the Climate Institute reacted as follows:

“The Emissions Reductions Plan demonstrates a path to achieving deep emissions reductions by 2030, but only if the federal government accelerates policy implementation and is ready to adjust and adapt the Plan over time.” —Dale Beugin, VP Research

“The Plan provides a level of modeling transparency that we have not seen before. This is a big step forward to help provide assurance that the Plan is credible.” —Dave Sawyer, Principal Economist.

Key takeaways from the plan

  • This is a comprehensive plan that will drive emission reductions from all sectors of the economy. The 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan includes policies for all major sources of emissions, including buildings, transportation, heavy industry, and the oil and gas sector. 
  • It is also ambitious. The 40 per cent emissions reduction target, along with the interim target of 20 per cent by 2026 from 2005 levels, is consistent with pathways to net zero by 2050. It is aligned with the net zero pathways outlined in our report Canada’s Net Zero Future.
  • The Plan uses economic modelling to demonstrate a credible path to achieving the 2030 emissions milestone.  
  • The Plan is policy-driven, and does not rely on untested technology “wild cards.” At the same time, there is sufficient incentive for innovation of new technologies to support long-term, deep emissions reductions.
  • A few specific policy elements are new and notable:
    • To make carbon pricing work better by increasing policy certainty, the government will explore approaches to de-risk private sector low-carbon investments through approaches such as carbon contracts for differences.
    • Expanding on the contribution from the transportation sector, Canada will aim to reach 35 per cent of medium-and heavy-duty vehicles (MHDVs) sales being ZEVs by 2030. 
    • A significant expansion in funding to support technology deployment and innovation necessary for achieving longer-term reductions.
  • The Plan takes a sector-by-sector approach, which supports clear expectations about the contributions of each sector to achieving the national milestones. This transparency can help industry’s and investors’ medium-term planning. It also increases the credibility of the Plan and also allows its progress to be tracked and adapted as necessary.
  • For example, the Plan includes a 31 per cent emissions reduction contribution from the oil and gas industry, the largest sectoral emitter in the country. Multiple policies are focused on reducing emissions from the oil and gas sector.
  • The Plan recognizes that pathways to 2030 and on to 2050 must also ensure the competitiveness of the Canadian economy and the wellbeing of Canadians.
  • Implementation is the next big challenge. There is a lot to do in a short amount of time as noted in our assessment framework. Not all policies in the Plan have been fully designed. The projections in the Plan assume very quick implementation of policies such as an emissions cap for the oil and gas sector and reductions from nature based solutions.
  • As the Plan itself notes, the government will need to continuously improve and adjust over time to fill these gaps and update policies over time to deliver the necessary emissions reductions. For example, the Plan formally tasks the Net-Zero Advisory Body to provide the Minister of Environment and Climate Change with independent advice on achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. Additionally, the Finance Ministry will prepare annual reporting on key metrics.

Additional information

CONTACT

Catharine Tunnacliffe

Director of Communications

(226) 212-9883

Climate institute proposes new framework for addressing fossil fuel subsidies

OTTAWA, February 9, 2022 – Government resources supporting the fossil fuel industry should be re-allocated as part of a broader economic diversification strategy responding to global market change, the Canadian Climate Institute said today. Canada has committed to phase out fossil-fuel subsidies by 2023. 

“Whereas the debate has tended to focus on what does or doesn’t constitute a subsidy, we think it’s more important to assess all government spending to ensure it’s getting us where we need to go,” said Rachel Samson, co-author of Cutting to the Chase on Fossil Fuel Subsidies and the Director of Clean Growth at the Institute. “Federal and provincial governments should analyze every program, starting with policy affecting fossil fuel production and use, to determine if it aligns with Canada’s climate objectives and to ensure that we are preparing for a world of declining oil and gas demand.”

Cutting to the Chase on Fossil Fuel Subsidies proposes four criteria to evaluate public spending: consistency with global low-carbon transition, value for money, employment outcomes, and policy fit.

“A robust framework for evaluating government spending, lending, taxes, and royalties will help ensure Canada’s economic success in the years ahead,” said Don Drummond, co-author of the report and an economist at Queen’s University, a C.D. Howe Institute Fellow-in-Residence, and an expert panelist with the Institute. “A global wave of market change is coming, and it’s crucial that fiscal policies help Canada prepare for that wave. Governments will have limited resources post-pandemic, and they will need to closely scrutinize spending—including forgone tax revenue—to ensure they’re taking the best approach to drive clean growth.”

Countries representing more than 90 per cent of global GDP have committed to reaching net zero emissions by mid-century, and over 70 per cent of Canada’s goods exports are in sectors vulnerable to transition-related market disruption. Organizations such as the International Energy Agency, BP, and Wood Mackenzie are increasingly exploring oil and gas demand scenarios that are far below previous expectations—scenarios that maintain average global temperature to 2 degrees are now seen as plausible, while previous expectations of 3-4 degrees are increasingly considered unrealistic.  

“Fossil fuel production is no longer the secure source of economic growth and jobs it once was,” says Peter Phillips, co-author of the report, Distinguished Professor and Founding Director of the Johnson-Shoyama Centre for the Study of Science and Innovation Policy, and an expert panelist with the institute. “Companies, communities, and workers will have a better chance of succeeding through transition with support for adjustment to new market realities. It’s not possible to insulate workers from long-term, structural shifts.” 

RESOURCES 

CONTACT

Catharine Tunnacliffe

Director of Communications

(226) 212-9883

New International Climate Council Network will support global climate policy development

The Canadian Climate Institute, Canada’s independent climate policy research institute, joined with Canada’s Net-Zero Advisory Body and more than 20 leading climate advisory councils around the world to launch the first global network of national climate advisory bodies as global leaders gather at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow.

The newly announced International Climate Council Network (ICCN) is made up of 21 leading climate advisory bodies, including the UK Climate Change Committee, the Finnish Climate Change Panel, the Chilean Scientific Committee on Climate Change, and many others. Participant councils provide independent, expert advice to governments. The ICCN’s mission is to foster collaboration among Climate Councils and support the development of new Councils to guide and oversee delivery of climate change policy globally.

In an inaugural letter to Heads of Government, the COP President, Alok Sharma, and UNFCCC Executive Secretary, Patricia Espinosa, say that the Glasgow summit must mark the start of a new phase of climate action—a decade of implementation. The ICCN’s purpose is aligned with the Canadian Climate Institute’s mandate to provide expert, evidence-led advice to inform climate policy.

QUOTES

“The newly formed ICCN provides an essential mechanism for collaboration among Climate Councils that will enable our nearly two dozen organizations to provide the best possible evidence-based advice to our respective governments. The next decade is critical in terms of getting the carbon transition right. Many countries are dealing with similar challenges, and exchanging ideas with colleagues around the world in real time will bring measurable benefits to the Canadian policy discussion. The Canadian Climate Institute looks forward to working closely with our fellow ICCN members, including Canada’s own Net-Zero Advisory Body, and we are proud to serve on the ICCN Steering Committee for the next year.”

– Rick Smith, President, the Canadian Climate Institute

CONTACT

Catharine Tunnacliffe

Director of Communications

(226) 212-9883

Global climate policy acceleration means sink-or-swim decade for Canada’s economy: report

OTTAWA, October 21, 2021— Canada’s economy faces a “sink-or-swim” decade, according to the first study to assess Canada’s economic prospects in the face of accelerating global market shifts responding to climate change. 

Sink or Swim: Transforming Canada’s economy for a global low-carbon future is a major new report from the Canadian Climate Institute, Canada’s independent climate policy research institute. The report assesses Canada’s economic prospects in response to the global low-carbon transition and offers recommendations for successfully navigating that transition.

Countries responsible for over 70 per cent of global GDP and over 70 per cent of global oil demand have committed to reaching net zero emissions by mid-century. Trillions of dollars in global investment will move away from high-carbon sectors. The impact of these global shifts will be profound, shifting trade patterns, reshaping demand, and upending businesses that are too slow to adapt.

To better understand the risks and opportunities of this transition for Canada, Sink or Swim stress tests publicly traded companies under different scenarios. Without major investment, the report finds, many exporters and multinationals will see significant profit loss in the coming decades. The stakes are high for Canada, with almost 70 per cent of goods exports and over 800,000 jobs in transition-vulnerable sectors, including oil and gas, mining, heavy industry, and auto manufacturing. 

To succeed in this global transition, the report concludes, Canada must use climate policy, company disclosure, and targeted public investment to mobilize private finance and improve the resilience of Canada’s workforce and impacted communities. 

QUOTES

“Our analysis shows that global policy and market changes will have a profound impact on Canada’s economy and workforce. To stay competitive, Canada needs to rapidly scale up new, transition-consistent sources of growth—and successfully transform existing ones. Moving too slowly is now a greater competitive risk than moving too quickly.”

—Rachel Samson, Clean Growth Research Director, Climate Institute

“The global transition means Canada must transform its economy in the face of new market realities. With smart, certain policy and innovation across the private sector, there is a path to strong economic growth, gains in well-being, and lower emissions.”

—Don Drummond, Stauffer-Dunning Fellow and Adjunct Professor at the School of Policy Studies at Queen’s University and fellow-in-residence at the C.D. Howe Institute 

“Major Canadian investors understand the pressures our economy will be facing as a result of accelerating global market shifts, and we’re issuing a strong call for increased climate accountability and transparency in the corporate sector.” 

—Dustyn Lanz, CEO, Responsible Investment Association 

“The Aluminum Association of Canada supports a holistic view of Canada’s trajectory towards net zero emissions. A multifaceted approach with room for everyone will support a transition to a prosperous and sustainable economy.”

—Jean Simard, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Aluminium Association of Canada 

“Canadian businesses and investors need clarity on which economic activities are consistent with the transition to a low-carbon future. Without that clarity, there is a risk that finance will flow in the wrong directions and miss areas of great opportunity. The analysis in this report will support the development of practical taxonomies that can be used for transition-consistent investment decisions and financial products.”

—Barbara Zvan, CEO & President, University Pension Plan and member of Canada’s former Expert Panel on Sustainable Finance. UPP is a participating organization of the Sustainable Finance Action Council

RESOURCES 

CONTACT

Catharine Tunnacliffe

Director of Communications

(226) 212-9883

Canada and G20 on collision course with catastrophic warming, report warns

This year’s Climate Transparency Report, the world’s most comprehensive annual assessment of G20 climate action, finds that G20 countries including Canada are not yet on track to limit warming to 1.5°C. Unless climate ambition accelerates, G20 governments’ targets would still lead to warming of 2.4°C by the end of the century. 

The report adds urgency to COP 26, the upcoming international climate summit in Glasgow, where pressure is building for developed economies to double down on more ambitious emissions targets.

Canada has made strides in recent years, according to the report, including passing into law the Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act. Canada’s per capita emissions dropped over four times faster than the G20 average between 2015 and 2018, yet Canada’s per capita emissions remain 2.6 times higher than that average. 

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to weigh down global economies, Canada leads the G20 in green recovery spending, with almost 75 per cent per cent of Canada’s recovery spending categorized as “green.” 

The use of renewables is rising across G20 countries, but coal and gas use also continue to rise. Renewables increased by 20 per cent between 2015 and 2020 and are projected to make up nearly a third of the G20’s power mix in 2021. Clean electricity already makes up 68 per cent of Canada’s power mix, with coal being phased out. Global growth in coal is mainly concentrated in China, followed by the United States and India. 


Highlights from Canada’s country profile:

  • Canada’s per capita emissions are 2.6 times higher than the G20 average.
  • Canada’s 2030 reduction pledge isn’t consistent with limiting global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
  • Canada’s electricity sector generates six times fewer emissions than the G20 average and is becoming cleaner more quickly.
  • Canada’s transport emissions are four times higher than the G20 average, though are declining more quickly. 
  • Canada’s readiness to prepare for climate impacts—its so-called adaptation readiness— is ranked high at the national level, largely due to Canadian prosperity. However, key adaptation challenges remain within specific regions and sectors.

Other highlights from Climate Transparency 2021: 

  • Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, energy-related CO2 emissions declined by 7 per cent in 2020. However, in 2021, CO2 emissions are projected to rebound by 4 per cent across the G20, with Argentina, China, India, and Indonesia projected to exceed their 2019 emissions levels.
  • Between 2015 and 2020, the share of renewables in the G20’s power mix increased by 20 per cent, reaching 28.6 per cent of the G20’s power generation in 2020 and projected to reach 29.5 per cent in 2021.
  • From 2015 to 2020, the carbon intensity of the energy sector has decreased by 4 per cent across the G20.
  • Coal consumption is projected to rise by almost 5 per cent in 2021, with this growth concentrated in China (61 per cent), the USA (18 per cent) and India (17 per cent).

The Canadian Climate Institute is the Canadian partner organization for Climate Transparency. 

The Climate Transparency Report gathers the work of 16 research organizations and NGOs from 14 G20 members. It compares the adaptation, mitigation, and finance-related efforts of the G20, analyses recent policy developments, and identifies climate opportunities that G20 governments can seize. This is the seventh edition of the annual review of G20 climate action. 

Quote

“The G20 is on a collision course with catastrophic warming. As a key G20 member, Canada’s watershed moment has arrived: our targets are now legally binding, the technology needed to meet our 2030 target is available and affordable, and there’s a political consensus that we need to act. Now it’s time for Canada to accelerate the progress made to date and deliver.”

—Caroline Lee, Senior Research Associate, Canadian Climate Institute

RESOURCES 

Report 

Country Profile: Canada 

CONTACT

Catharine Tunnacliffe

Director of Communications

(226) 212-9883

Massive investment needed to ready Canada’s infrastructure for climate change: Report

OTTAWA, September 29, 2021— A new report from the Canadian Climate Institute, Canada’s independent climate policy research institute, finds that climate change impacts could leave Canadians physically and financially under water as a warming and increasingly volatile climate damages public and private infrastructure. Homes, buildings and critical infrastructure are all at risk, unless new investment and improved regulation make these assets more resilient to the changing climate. 

Under Water: The Costs of Climate Change for Canada’s Infrastructure is the largest study to date of these kinds of impacts. It focuses on three types of climate change impacts to some of Canada’s most vital infrastructure: flooding of homes and buildings, damage to roads and rails, and impacts on Canada’s electricity grids. Findings include:

  • Flood damage to homes and buildings could increase fivefold by mid-century and tenfold by end of century, with costs as high as $13.6 billion annually.
  • Damage to roads and railways could increase by up to $5.4 billion annually by mid-century and by as much as $12.8 billion annually by end of century.
  • Costs to repair and maintain electrical infrastructure could more than double by mid-century and triple by end of century, costing up to $4.1 billion annually.

The Institute’s report concludes with specific recommendations for governments to direct public and private investment toward more resilient infrastructure—changes that will save the country billions of dollars in reduced loss and damage. 

Among the cost savings of proactive investment identified:

  • Shoreline protection and moving homes out of high-risk areas can reduce the future costs of coastal flooding by up to 90 per cent.
  • Repaving roads with resilient materials can reduce costs by over 90 per cent.
  • Using resilient materials when updating electrical infrastructure can reduce damage costs by 80 per cent.

QUOTES

“Climate change is a massive threat to the public and private infrastructure that underpins Canada’s prosperity. The challenge for governments today is to rapidly shift how infrastructure decisions are made in ways that factor in a changing climate. If these investments are planned wisely, Canada’s infrastructure can be the foundation of a resilient, low-carbon future.”

—Ryan Ness, Adaptation Research Director, Canadian Climate Institute

“As Canada wakes up to the reality of a rapidly changing climate, there’s no better or more urgently needed investment than in climate-resilient infrastructure that helps us reduce carbon emissions. Responsible management of physical climate risk in the financial sector is critical for turning risky investments into resilient ones.”

—Alyson Slater, Senior Director, Sustainable Finance, Global Risk Institute

“A consensus is emerging that climate change and its fallout will have significant impacts on economies, financial systems, and the companies that operate within them. For informed and effective decision making going forward, it is essential that all aspects of costs associated with climate change be captured. Improved disclosure of climate-related financial risks is key to incorporating long-term resiliency into our infrastructure planning.”

—Davinder Valeri, Director, Strategic Risk & Performance, Chartered Professional Accountants Canada

RESOURCES 

CONTACT

Catharine Tunnacliffe

Director of Communications

(226) 212-9883