Industrial carbon pricing the top driver of emissions reductions, new analysis shows

OTTAWA—Climate policies are reducing Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions, and industrial carbon pricing is the single biggest driver, according to new analysis by the Canadian Climate Institute. 

The paper, Which Canadian climate policies will have the biggest impact by 2030?, features the first rigorous analysis attributing emissions reductions to collective and individual climate policies. It examines, first, how policies implemented to date have affected Canada’s emissions trajectory and, second, how major climate policies are expected to impact emissions between 2025 and 2030. 

By 2030, industrial carbon pricing (which includes various types of large-emitter trading systems) is projected to contribute between 23 and 39 per cent (or 53 to 90 Mt) of avoided emissions from all policies implemented to date. And between now and 2030, these large-emitter trading systems—such as Ontario’s emissions performance standard or Alberta’s TIER system—will do more than any other policy to cut emissions, delivering between 20 and 48 per cent of emissions reductions expected from Canada’s Emissions Reductions Plan moving forward. 

Based on modelling by Navius Research, the analysis found that, by 2030, all existing climate policies in Canada combined will prevent 226 megatonnes of carbon pollution—roughly equal to the total annual emissions of Ontario and Quebec. In other words, without the various climate policies provincial, territorial, and federal governments have legislated to date, Canada’s emissions would be more than 40 per cent higher in 2030 than they are currently on track to be. 

Accounting for and addressing counterproductive policy interactions could drive additional emissions reductions. In particular, strengthening large-emitter trading systems can deliver deeper emissions reductions while protecting industrial competitiveness.


“This analysis clearly demonstrates that climate policy is delivering results—with industrial carbon pricing leading the pack. Robust large emitter trading systems are fundamental to any credible climate policy package in Canada.”

Rick Smith, President, Canadian Climate Institute 

“Any constructive assessment of Canada’s options in tackling climate change should be grounded in credible numbers—and for the first time, it’s clear how individual policies are contributing to Canada’s climate goals. While there’s still work ahead to reach Canada’s 2030 climate target, any backtracking or failure to implement measures that are working today will set back Canada’s progress unless they’re replaced by robust, evidence-based alternatives.” 

Anna Kanduth, Director, 440 Megatonnes 

“Large emitter trading systems are already the single biggest driver of emissions reductions between now and 2030. Strengthening these systems will reduce emissions even more while protecting investment and jobs in industries competing in a global market moving to net zero emissions.” 

—Dale Beugin, Executive Vice President, Canadian Climate Institute 



Catharine Tunnacliffe
Communications Director
Canadian Climate Institute
(416) 527-1777

Alberta’s renewable energy restrictions will throttle a booming industry and drive away investment

Rick Smith, President of the Canadian Climate Institute, made the following statement on the Government of Alberta’s new rules and restrictions for renewable energy development: 

“Today the Alberta government announced sweeping rules and restrictions on future renewable energy development that will throttle a booming industry, increase electricity rates, and drive away investment — both from renewable energy developers and from companies looking to set up shop in provinces with abundant, low-cost, clean electricity. 

“While due diligence is always necessary in regulating energy development, the restrictions announced today are not proportionate to the risks and are at odds with regulations currently applied to other industries in Alberta.

“The 35-kilometre ‘buffer zone’ appears to put a significant constraint on where new renewable energy projects can be located. This new rule will exclude new wind power development in many of the best locations around the province—including areas where wind projects already exist. Further, outlawing renewable energy development on potential agricultural land impedes the rights of rural landowners and municipalities seeking new economic opportunities. Evidence indicates renewable energy and agricultural activities can coexist and help farmers diversify their income.  

“Today’s announcement also puts Alberta’s commitment to net zero emissions by 2050 in question. By severely limiting its options to develop new renewable power, Alberta has chosen a much more difficult and costly path to reducing emissions from its electricity sector.   

“Renewable energy is the cheapest form of power available today, and is expected to continue to grow at a breakneck pace worldwide. By adding significant new red tape and creating unprecedented levels of investor uncertainty to new renewable energy development, Alberta is passing up the opportunity to cut electricity rates and support rural economic development, while tilting the scales in favour of more costly, volatile, and polluting fossil fuel power. 

“This decision will cost Albertans in terms of lost jobs, forfeited investment, and higher electricity rates for decades to come.” 

Quick Facts: 

  • The renewable energy sector is an important growth industry for Alberta and Canada’s clean economy. Last year alone, the sector in Alberta accounted for more than 92 per cent of Canada’s overall growth in renewable energy and storage capacity.
  • As of last year, there were 118 renewable projects in Alberta representing $33 billion of investment and 24,000 job-years that were at some stage of development, according to the Pembina Institute.
  • Reaching Canada’s emissions targets requires a big switch from fossil fuels to clean electricity. The Institute’s research has shown that electrification is core to every conceivable pathway to Canada’s emissions reduction targets. 
  • The International Energy Agency has said that renewable capacity needs to triple worldwide to limit global temperature rise to 1.5° Celsius. At COP28 in December, Canada and other signatories agreed to work toward achieving that goal.   



Catharine Tunnacliffe
Communications Director
Canadian Climate Institute
(226) 212-9883

Changes to regulations add flexibility to build cleaner electricity without bending on reliability

OTTAWA — Jason Dion, Senior Research Director for the Canadian Climate Institute, made the following statement on the federal government’s revised design of the Clean Electricity Regulations: 

“The revised design for the draft Clean Electricity Regulations is a welcome change that will deliver more flexibility for grid operators in order to protect reliability and support affordability for people and businesses. Finalizing the regulations as early as possible would give policy certainty to grid operators, which would help with planning and investment.

“Electrification is critical to Canada’s climate progress and economic competitiveness in the global race to a net zero emissions. In short, Canada needs bigger, cleaner, smarter electricity systems. Businesses are already demanding clean electricity as a prerequisite for investments. 

“The federal government has proposed a new approach to address the feedback and concerns of many stakeholders. A number of experts and organizations, including the Canadian Climate Institute and the Canada Electricity Advisory Council, have called for changes to the existing regulations to add more flexibility. The government’s proposed changes offer a pragmatic balance that will reduce carbon pollution and ensure electricity systems are reliable over time, as more of the national economy electrifies. 

“Now the revised policy design has been released, government should finalize the regulations as early as possible. Time is of the essence: the government should expedite other important pieces of the puzzle, like a shift away from output-based carbon pricing in the sector toward full pricing with revenues returned to ratepayers, as well as finalizing the Clean Electricity Investment Tax Credit.” 



Catharine Tunnacliffe
Communications Director
Canadian Climate Institute
(226) 212-9883

Clean growth and climate policy experts available to comment at GLOBE Forum 2024

VANCOUVER, February 12, 2024 —Experts from the Canadian Climate Institute are available to speak with media during GLOBE Forum 24 .

WHAT: Institute experts will participate in plenary sessions and panels. They are also available to comment on Canada’s climate policy progress and issues such as:

  • Incentivizing clean economic growth and low-carbon competitiveness
  • Reducing emissions and accelerating Canada’s net zero energy transition
  • Making our economy and infrastructure more resilient to a warming climate.

Please see our web page for additional resources and details. The Canadian Climate Institute will also be present in the Reaching Destination Net Zero Hub Space, where media are welcome to drop by throughout GLOBE Forum.

WHEN: February 13-15, 2024.

Note: Climate Institute experts are also available for interviews before or after these dates, and with journalists not accredited to GLOBE Forum 24.


Rick Smith, President, Canadian Climate Institute
Areas of expertise: Canada’s progresstoward net zero emissions, affordability and the energy transition, clean growth and competitiveness, and general climate policy priorities.

Dale Beugin, Vice President
Areas of expertise: clean growth, carbon pricing, contracts for difference, clean electricity, Canada’s progress towards net zero, and affordability and the energy transition.

Jonathan Arnold, Acting Clean Growth Director
Areas of expertise: clean growth, Canada’s response to the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act, and competitiveness in the global energy transition.

Jason Dion, Senior Research Director
Areas of expertise: the switch from fossil fuels to clean power, inter-governmental cooperation to expand and upgrade electricity systems, and net zero pathways for Canada. 

Kate Harland, Research Lead, Mitigation
Areas of expertise: climate policy and responsible innovation, economic analysis, building heat.

Sarah Miller, Research Lead, Adaptation
Areas of expertise: the costs of climate change in Canada, the National Adaptation Strategy and Action Plan, climate-related disaster response, building heating and cooling.


Globe Forum 24 program


Janina Stajic
Communications Manager
Canadian Climate Institute

Electric vehicle regulations will cut emissions and give drivers more choice

OTTAWA — Anna Kanduth, Director of 440 Megatonnes, a project of the Canadian Climate Institute, made the following statement on the release of federal government’s Electric Vehicle Availability Standard:

“Canada’s new Electric Vehicle Availability Standard will reduce emissions by helping more drivers get behind the wheel of an electric or plug-in hybrid car. Such policies are a practical and proven way to fight climate change while making it easier for people across Canada to buy the electric car they want, when they want it.

“The transportation sector is the second-largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada, and more than half of those emissions come from cars and light-duty trucks. Helping drivers switch to EVs will help drive down transportation emissions, but long wait times and scarce supply often lead more people to stick with fossil-fuelled vehicles, even when an EV might be their first choice. These new regulations will help shorten wait times for cleaner, more efficient vehicles by increasing EV supply in all provinces and territories.

More than a dozen countries have policies requiring new vehicle sales to be 100 per cent electric by 2035 or sooner. Canada’s new regulations are similar to measures announced or implemented in the European Union, the U.K., and several U.S. states. They also build on the success of Quebec and B.C., where zero emission vehicle sales regulations have helped increase the supply and sale of electric vehicles compared to provinces without this type of policy support.

“Zero emission vehicle regulations work, and they can even help save drivers money. Sales data from B.C. shows more than 26 per cent of new cars and trucks are already zero emission vehicles. Across Canada, sales of electric vehicles continue to rise, and a zero emission vehicle regulations mandate will only further strengthen this continued growth by ensuring people throughout the country have more options when choosing their next vehicle.”


  • Electric Vehicles are central to Canada’s energy transition:
  • Global demand for electric vehicles is growing rapidly:
    • Last year, more EVs were sold in China than in the rest of the world combined, with all-electric vehicles making up 22 per cent of all passenger vehicle sales in the country.
  • Charging infrastructure is critical
    • Canada is rapidly expanding its EV charging network—but that expansion will need to keep up with accelerating demand for EVs.
  • Without zero emission vehicle regulations, it’s likely EVs would continue to be hard to buy in many provinces:
    • Our research shows the federal sales regulations will make it easier for drivers in all provinces to get behind the wheel of a zero emissions vehicle.
    • Without a federal policy, British Columbia and Quebec—the only provinces with sales mandates—would continue to see the majority of national ZEV sales, while other provinces face limited supply.
  • Zero emission vehicle regulations can save people money:
    • Analysis by Clean Energy Canada of popular Canadian EV models showed nearly all of them had cheaper ownership costs than equivalent gas-powered vehicles, often by $10,000 or more.
    • The California Air Resources Board estimates buyers of a 2026 EV would save $3,200 over 10 years; buyers of a 2035 EV would save $7,600 over 10 years.

Independent assessment shows Canada on track to achieve 85-90 per cent of its 2030 emissions target

OTTAWA— In a new independent assessment  of the federal government’s 2023 Emissions Reduction Plan progress report, the Canadian Climate Institute finds the country has made big strides cutting emissions, but that more and faster progress is needed to put the country on track to its 2030 target. 

Current policies are working—Canada is on track to achieve between 85 and 90 per cent of its 2030 emissions target. The Institute’s assessment includes modelling that shows emissions would be 7 per cent higher today, and 41 per cent higher by 2030, without climate actions taken to date by all levels of government since 2015.

Canada is also making substantial progress in implementing policy. Since the release of the national climate plan in March 2022, several major policies have either been put into law or moved closer to implementation, including the Clean Fuel Regulations, updated carbon pricing, draft Clean Electricity Regulations, and the proposed oil and gas emissions cap.

Despite these signs of progress, Canada is projected to fall short of its 2030 target without further action. Even after the implementation and tightening of current and proposed policies, emissions are expected to be 34 to 36 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, short of the national target of at least 40 per cent by that time. The analysis also shows emissions declining 19 per cent below 2005 levels by 2026, within striking distance of the government’s interim objective of 20 per cent for that year.

To close the gap, the assessment recommends that all orders of government, including provinces and territories, quickly implement remaining policies, strengthen existing ones, and introduce new actions.

Top priorities previously identified by the Institute that require quick action include strengthening the large-emitter credit-trading systems, implementing the proposed Clean Electricity Regulations with some improvements, finalizing a strong oil and gas emissions cap, and accelerating nature-based climate solutions. In addition, quick action on the federal government’s forthcoming Green Buildings Strategy can help address rising emissions from the building sector. The independent assessment identifies additional options for strengthening existing policies and adding new ones to close the gap.

The Climate Institute also found that the federal government’s progress report provides enhanced transparency and accountability on emissions projections and policy implementation in Canada, though there is room for continuous improvement. Future reports should include more detailed updates on policy progress, including next steps on implementation and an assessment of whether a policy is on track. The government should also track a more comprehensive set of indicators of progress, such as technology deployment, infrastructure build out, and investment—whether within the formal progress report, or alongside it.


“Efforts to reduce emissions have made some big strides, and the whole country now needs to keep building momentum by implementing stringent policies as planned. We can’t afford any backsliding or delay. The best way to do that is for the provinces and territories to cooperate with each other, and with the federal government, to hit the target.”

Dave Sawyer, Principal Economist, Canadian Climate Institute

“Climate action is not a pass or fail test—every megatonne of emissions reduction matters. It’s encouraging to see effective policy starting to make big cuts to our emissions now and into the future. However, 2030 will be here before we know it, and provincial, territorial, and federal governments will need to finalize developing policies, strengthen existing policies, and implement new measures to hit our mark.”

—Anna Kanduth, Director, 440 Megatonnes


CONTACT Catharine Tunnacliffe
Communications Director
Canadian Climate Institute
(226) 212-9883

Speed on emissions cap and other key policies will make or break Canada’s climate progress: experts

DUBAI — Rick Smith, President of the Canadian Climate Institute, comments on the federal government’s release of a regulatory framework for the oil and gas sector emissions cap, and the tabling of the 2023 Progress Report on Canada’s 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan (ERP):

On the oil and gas emissions cap framework:

“The approach to capping oil and gas emissions announced today is reasonable and necessary. These regulations should be finalized and implemented without further delay.

“Oil and gas production is the single biggest and fastest-growing source of greenhouse gas emissions in the country, and the stubborn rise in emissions from this sector is wiping out climate progress in other parts of the economy. Capping oil and gas emissions is a critical element of a package of policies that can ensure Canada meets its emissions reduction targets while supporting the competitiveness of the sector.

“Cap-and-trade is a proven, market-based way to encourage companies to take cost-effective steps to reduce their emissions over time. Alternative compliance options give the sector flexibility in meeting global demand while maintaining incentives to reduce emissions. This is a sensible approach, but the government needs to move faster—there’s no need to push off implementation to 2026 or later. We urge the government to quickly finalize important details, such as how methane would be measured and priced under the cap, how to ensure the cap-and-trade system does not weaken the price signal from the existing output-based carbon pricing system for heavy emitters, and how compliance flexibility will be structured. Getting those specifics right will help ensure the regulations can deliver the emissions reductions required to align with Canada’s climate goals.  

“Our analysis confirms that a strong cap on oil and gas emissions is achievable and consistent with increasing oil production, subject to international demand. Industry can meet a significant share of the cap just by complying with newly announced methane regulations, using technologies that are widely available and comparatively cheap. The remainder of the cap can be achieved through a mix of measures, including carbon capture and storage, electrification, fuel switching, and energy efficiency.

“The oil and gas cap announced today will help the oil sands industry, in particular, deliver on its commitment to work toward net zero emissions by 2050. Over time, an increasingly stringent cap on oil and gas emissions can drive innovation to better position Canada’s energy sector to compete in global markets.”

On the 2023 Emissions Reduction Plan progress report:

“More than a year and a half after Canada’s first Emissions Reduction Plan was released, the government’s first progress report demonstrates real action, but acceleration is needed. How quickly the government completes the important policies that remain to be implemented—particularly the oil and gas emissions cap—will determine how close this plan gets Canada to its 2030 emissions target.

“This progress report confirms current and proposed policies are not yet enough to put Canada on track to achieve its 2030 commitment. Yet climate action is not a pass-or-fail test. Every megatonne matters when it comes to reducing greenhouse gasses, and federal policy is heading in the right direction.

“The number of policies that moved from the drawing board into legislation has risen sharply since April of last year. Specifically, Canada put in place Clean Fuel Regulations, stronger industrial and consumer carbon pricing, incentives for zero emissions vehicles, and tax support for low-carbon investments. But climate progress hinges on both policy implementation and real-world results: emissions dropping, new clean energy projects being developed, and everyday climate and cost-saving solutions like heat pumps and EVs taking off. Those are the benefits Canadians will see more of as the big remaining policies in Canada’s climate plan get done.

“This first progress report improves federal transparency and accountability on emissions reductions. Yet 2030 is fast approaching, and the math still doesn’t add up between Canada’s target and where we’re at today. Alongside accelerating federal policy, Canada needs more provincial, territorial, and federal cooperation to hit its target. The combined total of provinces’ and territories’ formal climate commitments equal just half of the emissions reductions needed to reach Canada’s 2030 target. If all orders of government start rowing in the same direction and with similar ambition, Canada’s overall progress will be faster and more cost effective than we’ve seen to date.”

Note: In the coming days, the Canadian Climate Institute will release a comprehensive independent assessment of the government’s Emissions Reduction Plan progress report, which will include detailed emissions modelling and analysis of the expected effectiveness of Canada’s current suite of climate policies.


The Canadian Climate Institute has climate policy experts available to comment on these announcements in Canada and Dubai. To arrange an interview, please contact:

Catharine Tunnacliffe
Communications Director
Canadian Climate Institute
(226) 212-9883


Regulating methane is a no-brainer to curb oil and gas emissions

4 December 2023, OTTAWA — Anna Kanduth, Director of 440 Megatonnes, a project of the Canadian Climate Institute, made the following statement in response to Canada’s announcement of draft regulations to reduce methane emissions from the upstream oil and gas sector by 75 per cent below 2012 levels by 2030:

“Reducing methane is an absolute no-brainer in Canada’s fight against climate change. Tough regulations to limit potent methane pollution are widely considered to be the cheapest and easiest way to slash Canada’s oil and gas emissions. 

Our research has shown that cutting methane emissions 75 per cent below 2012 levels by 2030 would get the oil and gas industry at least a third of the way to the emissions projection outlined in the federal Emissions Reduction Plan—making it easier and cheaper for industry to comply with an oil and gas emissions cap. We urge the federal government to move swiftly to finalize these regulations, to accelerate the fight against climate change while helping Canada’s economy compete in global markets rapidly shifting toward lower-carbon products.

“Reducing methane from fossil fuel operations 75 per cent by 2030 is one of three critical actions the International Energy Agency identified to align the global energy sector with the 1.5℃ goal—and an important measure for the global community to support at COP28. As one of the more than 150 countries that signed a Global Methane Pledge in 2021, Canada is in good company tackling methane. Ramping up ambition on methane alongside major international partners, like the U.S., is good for climate action, cross-border collaboration, and Canada’s economic competitiveness. 

“Achieving a 75 per cent reduction in methane by 2030 is increasingly seen as a floor, not a ceiling, of what’s possible. The federal government has already committed to exceeding this target, and some of the world’s largest oil and gas companies are aiming for near-zero methane by 2030. British Columbia has committed to eliminate nearly all industrial methane by 2035 and Alberta is looking at ways to reach up to 80 per cent by 2030. 

“The newly announced Methane Centre of Excellence is a critical step forward and will help improve the way methane emissions are measured. Industry has made promising strides to reduce methane in the past decade; yet it’s hard to credibly assess how well those efforts are working when research continues to show that actual methane levels are much higher than current estimates

“While methane regulations will make a big impact, they won’t singlehandedly bring emissions from oil and gas in line with Canada’s climate goals. That’s why further action—namely, a strong cap on oil and gas emissions—is necessary. Oil and gas is the biggest and fastest-growing contributor to Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions. While some other heavy-emitting sectors are successfully reducing their share, oil and gas emissions just keep rising—putting Canada’s climate targets further from reach, making industry less competitive, and contributing to worsening climate damages and skyrocketing costs for Canadians.”


Catharine Tunnacliffe
Communications Director
Canadian Climate Institute
(226) 212-9883


B.C. confirms progress toward climate goals in latest accountability report

Anna Kanduth, Director of 440 Megatonnes, a project of the Canadian Climate Institute, made the following statement in response to the release of B.C.’s 2023 Climate Change Accountability Report

“British Columbia is walking the talk when it comes to public transparency and accountability on climate action. The release of B.C.’s 2023 Climate Change Accountability report confirms current and proposed policies can get the province 96 per cent of the way to meeting its legislated climate targets. Success now hinges on implementing those policies swiftly and effectively, both to fight climate change and spur clean growth and jobs to keep B.C.’s economy strong and resilient in the decades ahead. 

“Provincial leadership to fight climate change is crucial, and British Columbia is a trailblazer on adopting cost-effective climate policy. B.C. was also one of the first jurisdictions in Canada to adopt climate accountability legislation and provide detailed progress updates. Ongoing, transparent reporting on climate progress is increasingly common among Canadian provinces, and will be critical for accurately measuring where governments are making strides, and identifying priorities for further effort. 

“As the costs and risks of climate-fueled extreme weather keep piling up, governments across the country must continually raise their ambition and strengthen their resolve in fighting climate change. Today’s report confirms B.C. is headed firmly in the right direction—and that further action is needed. Accelerating remaining policies like a strong provincial cap on oil and gas emissions will be necessary to put the province on a path to achieve its 2030 target and drive clean economic growth.” 


Catharine Tunnacliffe
Communications Director, Canadian Climate Institute
(226) 212-9883

Fall Economic Statement advances the right clean economy plan at the wrong pace

OTTAWA — Rick Smith, President of the Canadian Climate Institute, made the following statement in response to the federal government’s 2023 Fall Economic Statement:  

“The 2023 Fall Economic Statement confirms the federal government is making headway on measures that will help Canada prosper through the global energy transition. But to deliver the certainty businesses and investors need and the climate results Canadians expect, the pace of implementing crucial policies needs to pick up dramatically. 

“The Statement takes several important steps forward. Follow-through on the promised investment tax credits for carbon capture will help mobilize private capital into a technology that may prove critical for Canada’s cement, chemicals, iron and steel, and oil and gas sectors. Demonstrating progress on carbon contracts for difference through the Canada Growth Fund is a sensible way to create greater certainty for investors looking to get big clean growth projects off the ground. 

“Yet sluggish implementation of other critical policies risks undermining policy certainty and Canada’s ability to compete in global markets. Long timelines on other promised investment tax credits, for example, will impair much-needed investment in hydrogen, clean tech manufacturing, and especially clean electricity. The federal government should prioritize delivering the clean electricity investment tax credit earlier than the end of 2024, the timeline indicated in the Statement. The Statement also proposes additional development and process for the Canadian climate investment taxonomy, a framework already backed by the 25 largest financial institutions in the country, which would provide clarity on investments and assets that are consistent with domestic and global climate commitments. 

“More detail on implementation is also necessary on other actions critical for establishing policy certainty and mobilizing private investment. For example, the Statement proposes to explore options for creating more certainty about future increases to the carbon price, potentially through legislation. Finalizing guaranteed loans for Indigenous communities will accelerate both economic reconciliation and the development of clean growth projects. To support its commitment for future announcements on plans to expedite project approvals, the government should also swiftly introduce changes to the Impact Assessment Act in Budget 2024 to comply with the Supreme Court’s recent decision.  

“Finally, the federal government’s emphasis on building new housing is a welcome step and an opportunity to ensure new homes are built to withstand climate change damages and save Canadians money on energy bills. As the costs of disasters mount, climate-proofing new homes will help keep the cost of living down in the long run. 

“The design, construction, and operation of everything we need to drive Canada’s net zero transition will create hundreds of thousands of skilled, stable, and well-paid jobs—and lay the foundation for a higher-value economy and more prosperous future. Let’s get on with it. We urge the government to go full-throttle in implementing the remaining policies in its Emissions Reduction Plan to set Canada, and Canadians, firmly on the path to compete and prosper in the global energy transition.”


Catharine Tunnacliffe
Communications Director
Canadian Climate Institute
(226) 212-9883