Written by Wing-Shun Wu
December 22, 2020
In this week’s climate news, we will first take a look at Canada’s most recent climate plan that aims to exceed the current 2030 target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30% of 2005 levels. Under the Paris Agreement, countries are required to submit national targets every 5 years, with each successive submission being more ambitious than the previous one. As the federal government recognizes that more needs to be done in the next decade, the fully implemented new climate plan is projected to reduce emissions in the range of 32% to 40% below 2005 levels in 2030. This is a relatively modest gain in comparison to the EU, which agreed to reduce emissions by at least 55% of 1990 levels by 2030.
“A Healthy Environment and Healthy Economy” climate plan looks to achieve its target with a number of initiatives including cutting energy waste by improving energy efficiency in community buildings and homes, expanding the supply of clean electricity, encouraging cleaner modes of transportation by investing in zero-emission vehicles and charging and refueling stations, putting a price on carbon pollution, creating green jobs and help develop clean technologies, as well as protecting and enhancing natural spaces to boost carbon sequestration.
One of the controversies surrounding this new climate plan is the drastic increase in carbon pollution pricing. Starting in 2023, carbon price will be increasing at $15 per tonne each year until 2030. Rebate payments to households will be distributed on a quarterly basis starting as early as 2022. Most households will receive more money back than they pay for provinces where the federal carbon tax applies, which includes Ontario.
As 2020 comes to an end, it has been a remarkable year as many of us are forced to adapt to a new lifestyle due to the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, the world saw a 7% decline in carbon emissions in 2020. The UN Development Director, Achim Steiner, believes that the world is close to an emission peak. Despite the noticeable decrease in emissions, November 2020 was almost 0.8 ºC above the average temperature between 1981 to 2010, making it the hottest November ever recorded. The WMO announced that average global temperature in 2020 is set to be about 1.2 ºC above pre-industrial levels with a one in five chance of it temporarily exceeding 1.5 ºC by 2024. Limiting global warming to 1.5 ºC is the preferred target of the Paris Agreement.
To end the year on some positive news, Alberta sets to eliminate coal power by 2023, 7 years earlier than its initial 2030 target. The province’s TIER regulation is a key motivator for private industries to transition their facilities to less carbon-intensive sources such as natural gas. Facilities can also be equipped with carbon capture technologies and use hydrogen fuel to further cut carbon emissions. Also, the Village of Carmangay in southern Alberta built a 150kW solar farm that will save the village more than $13,000 annually in electrical cost. The 384-panel solar farm has a 25-year warranty and requires virtually no maintenance. Additional energy generated by the solar farm will be used to power new electric car charging stations.
See you in 2021!
About the Author
Wing-Shun Wu is a Director of Neighbours for the Planet.
Wing is currently a student in the Master of Climate Change program at the University of Waterloo. She has over 10 years of experience in the environmental consulting industry focusing on site assessment and remediation projects.
About NftP Climate News
The goal of NftP Climate News articles is to highlight 3 to 4 recent news articles on climate change. We want to provide a brief summary to help our members stay up to date on what’s happening climate-wise. Although there can sometimes be a lot of bad news, we are striving to balance this out by including at least one piece of good news.