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Canada’s net-zero emissions target at risk, says regulator

IFM_Canada Net-Zero Emission
The CER's annual report outlined three scenarios for Canada's net-zero ambition, emphasizing the challenges of reducing emissions nationally

The Canada Energy Regulator (CER) warned that Canada is likely to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 with additional measures beyond the current efforts in place. The CER’s annual report outlined three scenarios for Canada’s net-zero ambition, emphasizing the challenges of reducing emissions nationally.

While Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government has implemented a carbon tax and plans to regulate emissions from various sectors, the report stresses the need for collective action from industries, provinces, and individuals.

CER’s Chief Economist, Jean-Denis Charlebois, acknowledged the ambitious nature of the goal and highlighted the requirement for contributions from all sectors. The government has recognized the necessity for further actions to meet the 2050 target.

Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson noted that while Ottawa is committed to the announced policies, continuous evaluation and potential acceleration in specific areas may be necessary.

The report serves as a call to action, emphasizing the importance of provincial governments in developing credible plans tailored to their unique circumstances, as stated by Binnu Jeyakumar, Director of Electricity at the Pembina Institute think-tank.

According to the report, Canadian oil production is projected to continue growing until the late 2020s due to high prices, even with intensified emissions reduction efforts.

In the most optimistic scenario, with new actions and global warming limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius, Canadian crude production would peak in 2026 and decline to 1.2 million barrels per day by 2050.

However, in a scenario where the rest of the world progresses more slowly, Canadian oil production would rise until 2029. If limited action is taken to reduce emissions, Canadian oil production will peak in 2035.

If Canada achieves net zero by 2050, the report highlights a significant increase in wind generation and the dominance of zero-emission or low-emission technologies in electricity production. The CER also projects a doubling of electricity demand by 2050 if the net zero goal is met.

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