Updated: May 20, 2021
Last week, we worked to unpack the Canadian federal government’s long-awaited budget. That certainly kept us busy as the more than 700-page document was packed full of spending commitments and new initiatives—many of which connected government spending with a net-zero future (for our full conversation on the budget, click here).
All these initiatives led the government to increase their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions target to 36% below 2005 levels by 2030—the original commitment was only 30% below 2005 levels.
But, with a global Leaders Summit on Climate to be hosted later in the week by the United States, the government had an even bolder target waiting to be released.
Let’s start with that thought…
1. Canada announces increased emissions reduction target at Leaders Summit on Climate
From 30% to 36% to 40-45% in a matter of days. The federal government used the week of their 2021 budget and a global summit on climate change efforts to dramatically beef up our country’s emissions reduction target.
During the Leaders Summit on Climate hosted (virtually) by the President of the United States, Canada announced that our new emissions reduction target is somewhere between 40-45% below 2005 levels by the year 2030.
This commitment to even further reductions underscores the importance of regions like the Clean Energy Frontier. This level of reduction will require even further electrification—for example, the adoption of electric vehicles. And, with this increased focus on electrification we need to ensure that our electricity is clean and reliable. Already, the Clean Energy Frontier is providing 30% of Ontario’s electricity in the form of clean and reliable nuclear power.
This reduction commitment will also lean on initiatives that offset the use of carbon intensive practices and projects that will sequester carbon. The Clean Energy Frontier is showing leadership in this space with the announcement of Bruce Power’s Carbon Offset Co-op which is currently seeking ideas from our local communities on projects that can achieve these goals.
As Canada moves forward with these ambitious targets, we’re looking forward to showing how our region, the Clean Energy Frontier, will play a critical role.
2. ZEV market share increases
As I just mentioned, to reach Canada’s new emissions reductions targets, increased adoption of zero-emissions vehicles (ZEVs) will be critical. Fortunately, data released by Statistics Canada shows that we are trending in the right direction.
Overall, the data shows that for the Canadian market share, ZEVs accounted for 3.52% of new registrations—up from 2.91% in 2019.
Most of these new ZEV registrations occurred in British Columbia, Quebec and Ontario with BC and Quebec leading the way in the percentage of new registrations. The chart below from RBC Economics paints a clear picture of the provincial leaders on ZEV adoption.
3. Net-zero home receives recognition
In December of 2019, a family in Neyaashiinigmiing moved into a net-zero home that is the product of a partnership between the community, a team at the University of Waterloo and Habitat for Humanity Grey Bruce.
The home is truly innovative and generates its own electricity via 37 solar panels installed on its roof and features smart thermostats and smart plugs to conserve energy.
Recently, the design team at the University of Waterloo was awarded second place by the United States Department of Energy in its Solar Decathlon Build Challenge.
Congratulations to the design team and all of the community partners that made this project such as success! You can read more about the project here.
--Chad Richards is the Director of the Clean Energy Frontier.