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A Climate Change Plan for the Purposes of the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act 2012

Introduction

Since the passage of the KPIA, the Government has been consistent in its commitment to fulfilling the Act’s reporting obligations. To that end, successive Plans have been refined to improve comprehensiveness and transparency – a continuous cycle of improvement that has been recognized by the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development (CESD).

This commitment to fulfill KPIA reporting obligations remains fully in place and, with the release of this 2012 Climate Change Plan, the Government meets the publication requirements of the KPIA for 2012.

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Preface – The Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act

This document constitutes the Climate Change Plan for 2012 that the Government is required to publish under Section 5 of the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act (KPIA). The KPIA received Royal Assent on June 22, 2007. This is the sixth iteration of the Plan required under the Act, the previous having been issued on June 2, 2011.

Legal Requirements

This Plan fulfills the following legal requirements:

Section 5 of the Act provides that:

“Within 60 days after this Act comes into force and not later than May 31 of every year thereafter until 2013, the Minister [of the Environment] shall prepare a Climate Change Plan that includes:

(a) a description of the measures to be taken to ensure that Canada meets its obligations under Article 3, paragraph 1, of the Kyoto Protocol, including measures respecting:

i) regulated emission limits and performance standards,

ii) market-based mechanisms such as emissions trading or offsets,

iii) spending or fiscal measures or incentives,

iii.1) a just transition for workers affected by greenhouse gas emission reductions, and

iv) cooperative measures or agreements with provinces, territories or other governments.

(b) for each measure referred to in paragraph (a),

i) the date on which it will come into effect, and

ii) the amount of greenhouse gas emission reductions that have resulted or are expected to result for each year up to and including 2012, compared to the levels in the most recently available emission inventory for Canada;

(c) the projected greenhouse gas emission levels in Canada for each year from 2008 to 2012, taking into account the measures referred to in paragraph (a), and a comparison of those levels with Canada’s obligations under Article 3, paragraph 1, of the Kyoto Protocol;

(d) an equitable distribution of greenhouse gas emission reduction levels among the sectors of the economy that contribute to greenhouse gas emissions”.

In addition, paragraphs (e) and (f) of section 5 (1) stipulate that the Government must publish:

“(e) a report describing the implementation of the Climate Change Plan for the previous calendar year; and

(f) a statement indicating whether each measure proposed in the Climate Change Plan for the previous calendar year has been implemented by the date projected in the Plan and, if not, an explanation of the reason why the measure was not implemented and how that failure has been or will be redressed.”

Section 9 also requires that the Minister of the Environment prepare, within 120 days after the Act comes into force, a statement setting out the greenhouse gas emission reductions that are reasonably expected to result for each year up to and including 2012 from each regulation and measure.[1]


[1] No similar requirement exists for any of the Plans following the 2007 Plan. To review the statement, please see the 2007 Climate Change Plan.  

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International Progress on Climate Change

Since the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, the international policy landscape has evolved considerably. Recognizing this progress, Canada has demonstrated unwavering support for the establishment of a fair and comprehensive new global climate change regime that will effectively address global climate change and reflect Canadian values and interests.

To truly address the risk of climate change, it is widely acknowledged that the world will need to adopt a climate change regime that includes all of the world’s major emitters. The Durban Platform, building upon the success of the Copenhagen Accord of 2009 and the Cancun Agreements of 2010, represents meaningful progress towards this objective. The Platform launches a new process to produce a single, new, comprehensive climate change agreement by 2015 that would include binding commitments for all major emitters.

Under the Copenhagen Accord, Canada committed to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 17% below 2005 levels, or 607 Mt, by 2020. This target is aligned with the reduction target set by the United States under the same agreement.

Moving forward, Canada will continue to engage in United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations to support the establishment of a fair and comprehensive global climate change regime that will effectively address global climate change. In parallel, Canada is also working with international partners outside the formal United Nations negotiations. These processes bring together smaller groups of countries and address targeted issues through more manageable mechanisms to deliver more timely and concrete results. These efforts include initiatives under the G8, the G20, the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate Change, as well as efforts to address short‑lived climate polluters such as black carbon, methane and hydrofluorocarbons.

Canada is also supporting international efforts by contributing $1.2 billion in new and additional climate change financing by the end of fiscal year 2012/13 to assist developing countries' efforts to reduce GHG emissions and adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change.

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Canada’s Withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol

On December 15, 2011, the Government of Canada officially notified the UNFCCC that Canada would exercise its legal right to formally withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol. To fulfill its obligations under the Protocol, Canada would have had to purchase a significant and costly amount of international credits using funds that could be invested here, in Canada, on domestic priorities, including the environment.

From an environmental perspective, the Kyoto Protocol has not served the international community well in meeting the real challenges of global climate change or effectively engaging all major economies. The Protocol only covers countries responsible for a small, and increasingly smaller, percentage of global emissions and, as a consequence, is not an effective vehicle for addressing the global challenge of climate change. Importantly for Canada, the United States, which is Canada’s biggest economic trading partner and is responsible for nearly 20% of global emissions, is not covered by the Kyoto Protocol.

These issues have led Canada to focus its efforts on the development of a fairer and more comprehensive global agreement based on the Copenhagen Accord, the Cancun Agreements and the Durban Platform. This includes implementing domestic measures toward achieving Canada’s GHG emissions reduction commitments.

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Canada’s Domestic Climate Change Approach

The Government of Canada takes the challenges of climate change seriously and is taking concrete action on fulfilling its commitment to reducing economy-wide GHG emissions by 17% below 2005 levels by 2020, or 607 Mt.

The Government of Canada started by addressing emissions in the transportation and electricity sectors – two of the largest sources of GHG emissions in Canada.

  • Final Passenger Automobile and Light Truck Greenhouse Gas Emission Regulations, aligned with similar regulations in the United States, were announced in 2010. These regulations establish progressively more stringent GHG emission standards for new passenger automobiles and light trucks for the 2011-2016 model years. As a result, it is projected that the average GHG emission performance of new vehicles for the 2016 model year will be about 25% lower than the vehicles that were sold in Canada in 2008.
  • In April 2012, the Government also announced proposed regulations to reduce GHG emissions from new on-road heavy-duty vehicles. These proposed regulations would reduce emissions from the whole range of on-road heavy-duty vehicles and engines, including large pick-up trucks, short/long-haul tractors, cement and garbage trucks, buses, and more, for the 2014 model year and beyond.
  • In August 2011, the Government of Canada announced that it is moving forward with regulations for the coal-fired electricity sector. These proposed Regulations will apply a stringent performance standard to new coal-fired electricity generation units and those units that have reached the end of their economic life. The gradual phase-out of traditional coal-fired electricity generation is expected to have a significant impact on reducing emissions. Final regulations will be published soon.
  • Moving forward, the Government intends to introduce new regulations in other key sectors, including oil and gas, until Canada reaches its emission target.

In July 2011, Environment Canada published Canada’s Emissions Trends which reported that Canada was already a quarter of the way towards meeting its 2020 target. The Government is committed to continue publishing updates to this report to ensure transparency of its efforts to combat climate change and meet Canada’s 2020 emission target.

The Government is also investing to help Canadians adapt to the challenges posed by climate change. Budget 2011 provided $148.8 million over five years (2011-2016) to continue and expand federal programs designed to improve our understanding of climate change and to help Canadians prepare for climate-related impacts. This funding addresses key priority areas, including communities, health, and the economy, and will lead to credible, scientifically-sound information on climate change to support adaptation decision-making, particularly for Canada’s North.

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Measures to address climate change

This Plan is being published in 2012, the final year of the Kyoto Protocol reporting period.

Since the publication of the 2011 Plan, Canada has made significant progress on climate change, notably through the introduction of heavy duty vehicle regulations and the proposed regulations for the coal-fired electricity sector.

These initiatives, however, are aimed at producing emissions reductions toward Canada’s 2020 target and are not expected to generate emissions reductions within the Kyoto Protocol reporting period. As a result, the information on the measures to reduce GHG emissions provided in the 2011 Climate Change Plan for the Purposes of the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act remains up-to-date and complete. The 2011 Plan is presented in Annex 1 and the information it contains responds to the reporting requirements of section 5 of the KPIA for 2012.

The annexed 2011 Plan contains detailed descriptions of all federal measures that result in emission reductions over the Kyoto Protocol reporting period on pages 7 to 30. Overall emission levels, both actual and projected, and integrated emission reductions from all measures are available on pages 35 to 38.

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Updates to the 2011 Plan

While the 2012 KPIA Plan has no new measures to report, new data on Canada’s emissions has been made available since the release of the previous Plan.

On April 11, 2012, Environment Canada released the 2012 National Inventory Report. This report provides historical GHG emission data up to 2010.  Overall, emissions in 2010 were 692 Mt, 48 Mt lower than 2005 levels. This is a 0.25% increase over 2009 levels, despite a 3.2% growth in Canada’s GDP.  Per capita GHG emissions were also at a historic low of 20.3 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per person, their lowest level since tracking began in 1990.

The report also indicated that 2010 emissions were 29 Mt lower than what had been projected in the 2011 KPIA Plan. This suggests that we are making more progress than anticipated toward achieving Canada’s target of reducing economy-wide GHG emissions by 17% below 2005 levels by 2020, or 607 Mt.

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Conclusion

With this document, the Minister of the Environment has responded to the publication requirements of Section 5 of the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act.

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Provision of Comments

Pursuant to paragraph 5 (3) (a) of the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act, persons are welcome to submit comments about the Plan to the Minister of the Environment, care of:

Director General, Strategic Policy Branch

Environment Canada

22nd Floor – 10 Wellington St.

Gatineau, Quebec

K1A 0H3

Comments must be provided in writing by June 18 2012.

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Annex 1 to the 2012 report

2011 Climate Change Plan for the Purposes of the
Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act

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