The federal government is launching consultations to discuss ways to meet Canada’s emissions targets for 2030 including exploring a ZEV mandate and establishing a medium- and heavy-duty vehicle plan
The federal government is following through on its commitment to study the advisability of a zero-emissions vehicles sales mandate and identifying targets for medium- and heavy-duty vehicle sales by launching a series of consultations that will focus on these key items.
The consultations will help inform Canada’s 2030 Emissions Reduction plan — the roadmap for how the federal government will achieve its targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030. The plan is underway, but the consultations — which will begin before the end of 2021 — will push the public disclosure off by three months, says Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC).
In an email statement to Electric Autonomy Canada, ECCC’s spokesperson Samantha Bayard says the government “does not currently have any further details to provide on timelines of consultations.”
Climate accountability legislation
Under the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act, passed in June, the government is required to come up with five-year targets and an action plan that, if met, will help the country hit its climate targets and reach net zero by 2050. If any of the targets are missed, the Act mandates accountability and reporting by the government on the reasons why targets weren’t met and present actions the government will need to take to address the failure.
The government had six months since the Act was codified to release its plan, originally slated for this month. However, the rules allow that if consultations need to be run in order to inform policy, the deadline may be pushed back until the end of March 2022.
Public officials will meet with provinces, territories, Indigenous groups and other interested parties around key climate components including studying whether a ZEV sales mandate is necessary and how medium- and heavy-duty vehicles will be treated in Canada’s emissions plan.
“Through the efforts of millions of Canadians from coast-to-coast-to-coast, Canada has successfully flattened its emissions curve. But as we are seeing from the immediate, devastating impacts of a changing climate, we need to do more, on a faster timeline [to reach our climate targets],” said Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault in a press statement.
“The debate over whether we need to act is long over. Now we must determine how we can get where we need to go, together.”
In addition to seeking stakeholder input into Canada’s future climate policy, the consultation rounds will also include discussion on other important commitments, such as net-zero emissions electricity grid by 2035, capping emissions from the oil and gas sector and a plan to reduce methane emissions from across the broader Canadian economy.
Canada’s methane emissions commitment was quietly made in October 2021 as part of the country’s support for the Global Methane Pledge, “which aims to reduce methane emissions around the world by 30 percent below 2020 levels by 2030 and committed to reducing methane emissions across the broader Canadian economy for 2030, and to developing regulations to reduce oil and gas methane emissions by 75 percent below 2012 levels by 2030.”
Already Canadians are aware that the Trudeau government pledged that at least half of all passenger vehicles sold in Canada be zero-emission by 2030, reaching 100 per cent in 2035. As well, the prime minister’s target for 100 per cent new sales for “selected categories” of zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty trucks by 2040, announced during COP26 and reiterated by the government in the news release pushing back the deadline.
“Collaboration and consultation with our natural resource sectors are essential in establishing the ways in which we will achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 while promoting the development of good jobs and a prosperous clean economy,” said Minister of Natural Resources, Jonathan Wilkinson in a press statement.
“Our Government is committed to doing just that, in order to ensure we chart a pathway that works for every region across the country.”