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

Canadian Climate Institute points to five critical policies to accelerate progress.

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


Catharine Tunnacliffe

Director of Communications

(226) 212-9883