COP26: Canada’s Ambitious Plans on Climate Change

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Canada's Climate Pledges

The first week of COP26 resulted in a resounding push towards clean energy, and unlike previous years, all nations have shown significant progress and ambitious targets for the future. Some of the most aspiring targets have come from Canada. While addressing the conference, the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, pledged to tackle climate change by announcing four enhanced climate plans:

  1. Phase-out thermal coal by 2030.
  2. Help developing countries effectively transition to clean fuel alternatives.
  3. Cap and reduce pollution from the oil and gas industry to net-zero by 2050.
  4. Reduce methane emissions in the oil and gas sector by at least 75% by 2030.

Cutting Down on Coal

Coal-powered energy contributes to roughly 20 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. A recent study found that some 800,000 people die each year from air pollution caused by burning coal. By phasing out coal, Canada will create cleaner, more breathable air, thus improving overall public health.

Phasing out conventional coal-powered electricity will also help Canada reduce greenhouse emissions by nearly 13 million tonnes in 2030, a vital step to meeting its national target of reducing emissions by 40 to 45 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.

Financing the Future

To ensure a smooth transition towards green energy, the Canadian government has arranged a package of $185 million specifically to provide financial support to aid the transition for employees within the coal industry. On a global scale, Canada has committed to spending $1 billion for the Climate Investment Funds Accelerated Coal Transition Investment Program to support developing countries phase out coal-powered electricity as quickly as possible.

This investment is welcome news for countries that are looking for financial support to implement local strategies and kick-start renewable projects in an attempt to retire existing coal power plants. Justin Trudeau has also made a commitment to support low-and middle-income countries in the transition to a cleaner economy by announcing $25 million in funding to the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program in partnership with the World Bank.

A Cap on Fossil Fuels

Canada is the fourth-largest producer and third-largest exporter of oil in the world. To spur innovation and help secure future jobs, the Prime Minister announced that Canada will be the first major oil-producing country to reduce and cap pollution from the oil and gas industry to net-zero by 2050.

The Canadian government will set 5-year targets while ensuring the industry meets Canada’s 2030 climate goals. The federal government is in consultation with the Net-Zero Advisory Body on the best ways forward for the oil and gas industries.

Minimizing Methane

Canada is also committed to reducing methane emissions in the oil and gas sector by at least 75% by 2030 and is calling on other countries to make similar commitments to tackle methane emissions. Canada has become the first country to make this commitment and has pledged to reduce methane emissions further by targeting all industries across its economy.

Methane emissions contribute significantly to global warming, and without deep cuts over the next decade, there’s no achievable pathway to limiting global temperatures to 1.5ᵒC.


While many larger nations such as China and the US have failed to make key pledges like cutting coal, Canada has stepped up on every deal and been a pillar of ambition amongst the developed nations. The second week of COP26 is commencing 8 November, will involve technical and political discussions regarding the details of these plans. This will provide a better understanding of how countries aim to go forward from these plans.

Hopefully, Canada will continue to act as a leader amongst high-income countries and be a key driving force for positive climate action.

More: Research Notes, COP26, Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP), Net-Zero, Net Zero Advisory Body, Sustainability

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Kharam Khalsa