Heating up, Backing Down by Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood was released on June 13, updating the author’s previous 2017 report Tracking Progress: Evaluating government plans and actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Canada. It analyzes emissions data and policy announcements in the last two years to assess federal, provincial and territorial governments’ progress toward Canada’s domestic and international greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets. The report identifies and discusses two new important issues in the Canadian climate policy discussion: an overemphasis on carbon pricing and an absence of supply-side energy policies. These are in addition to the three key obstacles to effective climate policy identified in the 2017 report, and still considered relevant: (1) an ambition gap between government policies and official targets; (2) Canada’s deep economic dependence on fossil fuels, and; (3) an under-appreciation of the need to support workers in the transition to a cleaner economy.
Following a succinct overview of policy developments and emissions statistics for each province, the author concludes that positive progress in British Columbia and Quebec is outweighed by backsliding in the rest of Canada, and future progress is further threatened by the legislative reversals enacted by the recently-elected conservative governments in Alberta and Ontario, which are Canada’s two biggest carbon polluting provinces.
Heating up, Backing Down is co-published by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and the Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change research program (ACW) .