“Ambition Gap” Plagues Canadian Climate Change Efforts, Finds Report

 

(York University, Toronto) Efforts to curb climate change in Canada are being hampered by a serious “ambition gap,” finds a new report by researcher Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood. The study compares federal and provincial government greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets, mitigation policies, emissions, and workforce adjustment policies.

“Tracking progress: Evaluating government plans and actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Canada” is co-published by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) and the Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change (ACW) research program, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and based at York University.

In the report, Mertins-Kirkwood identifies three common themes in Canadian climate policy: an ambition gap between promises and policies, widespread dependence on and continued promotion of fossil fuels, and an absence of workforce transition policies.

“Canadian governments take climate change seriously insofar as they generally recognize the risk it presents and are taking steps to mitigate emissions. However, collectively, Canadian governments do not take climate change seriously enough to act with the necessary level of ambition,” writes Mertins-Kirkwood. “In some cases, the ambition gap between targets and projections is staggering.”

The absence of a robust just transition strategy is another key issue in Canadian climate policy. Canadian governments have so far been hesitant to tackle the potentially negative impacts of climate policies on fossil fuel workers and their communities. “Public support for emissions mitigation measures is undermined when jobs are lost in the process,” adds Mertins-Kirkwood.

“Tracking progress: Evaluating government plans and actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Canada” is the latest in a series of four reports produced for the ACW’s Domestic Policy Working Group—chaired by Bruce Campbell—which is investigating Canada’s evolving domestic climate policy landscape.

 

Download full report (PDF)

 

 

ACW Factsheet: Domestic Policy

 

Evaluating Federal Plans and Actions to Reduce GHG Emissions in Canada

Liberal Government Progress After 1 Year in Power

 

The official Liberal Party platform for the 2015 federal election made climate change a central theme. The platform promised renewed cooperation with the provinces to establish a national strategy for transitioning to a low-carbon economy.

Importantly, the platform assured Canadians that environmental protection was compatible with job creation and economic growth. After winning a resounding Parliamentary majority in October 2015, the Liberals began work on their climate change agenda. After a year in power, they have managed to maintain the enthusiastic, pre-election public support for climate change action even in the face of strong economic headwinds.

Whether the new federal government is actually delivering on the rhetoric requires closer scrutiny.

 

Download the factsheet (PDF)

 

 

Canada’s evolving domestic climate policy landscape

These working papers are a series of three preliminary reports being produced for the ACW’s Domestic Policy Working Group—chaired by Bruce Campbell—which is investigating Canada’s evolving domestic climate policy landscape. These three preliminary reports—addressing Federal Government action, provincial government action, and domestic labour policy in Canada—will be integrated into a final report in spring 2017.

The preliminary reports take as their starting point the working group’s baseline report, which was completed in October 2015. That report provides context on the current profile of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada as well as the suite of climate policies in place at the federal and provincial level through October 2015.

 

Tracking progress: Evaluating government plans and actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Canada
May 2017
Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood
International trade and climate policy researcher, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA)

Download the full report (PDF)

 

Evaluating government plans and actions to reduce GHG emissions in Canada: Just transition policies
January 2017
Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood
Research Intern, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

Download the full report (PDF)

 

Evaluating Government Plans and Actions to Reduce GHG Emissions in Canada: Provincial and territorial progress through October 2016
November 2016
Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood
Research Intern, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA)

Download the full report (PDF)

 

Evaluating government plans and actions to reduce GHG emissions in Canada: Federal progress through June 2016
July 2016
Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood
Research Intern, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA)

Download the full report (PDF)

 

 

 

Evaluating Government Plans and Actions to Reduce GHG Emissions in Canada: The State of Play in 2016

 

Presentation by Bruce Campbell, CCPA & University of Ottawa, and Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, at ACW All Team Meeting Researcher’s Workshop.

 

Vancouver, November 2016

 

Download the presentation (PDF)

 

ACW Baseline Report – Domestic Policy

 

By Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA)

 

This report provides an overview of the Canadian policies and financing instruments designed to discourage the emission of carbon and other greenhouse gases (GHGs) into the atmosphere (“green policies”). The report is focused in particular on energy policy in Canada as it relates to the production and consumption of “clean” as opposed to “dirty” energy. Energy use is directly responsible for the vast majority of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions, which means any policies that encourage or discourage the production or consumption of different kinds of energy has a direct impact on those emissions. The report also presents and assesses the policy visions of Canadian governments (federal, provincial, and territorial) as they relate to energy production and consumption in the context of climate change.

To this end, the report is guided by two research questions:

  1. What policies and financing instruments have Canadian governments implemented so far to encourage or discourage different kinds of greenhouse gas-emitting activity?
  2. What green policy visions have Canadian governments put forward and what actions have they promised to take on greenhouse gas-emitting activity moving forward?
Download the full report (PDF)

SSHRC awards more than $2.5 million in funding to York-led research partnerships

Carla Lipsig-Mummé, professor of work and labour studies in York’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, has received more than $2.5 million over seven years through the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Partnership Grants program.

Lipsig-Mummé will lead a project titled “Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change: Canada in International Perspective”, which investigates how best Canada’s diverse workplaces can adapt work in order to mitigate greenhouse gases. The project will also examine the changes needed in law and policy, work design and business models for industry and services, to assist the “greening” of workplaces and work. Among the goals of the project, Lipsig-Mummé and her research team hope to develop work-based strategies to reduce greenhouse gases and energy use and integrate international and national best practices into Canadian work. Training for highly qualified work-based environmental change experts is also planned.

“It goes without saying that slowing global warming is a huge issue,” says Lipsig-Mummé. “The world of work has been neglected terrain in responding to climate change, but the structures of work, of modern business organizations, and of unions make it easier, not harder, to adapt work in order to mitigate greenhouse gases. After all, work creates the majority of GHGs produced by human activity in developed countries like Canada.”

The national project, which will also receive more than $2.2 million in matching funding and contributions from partnering organizations, includes 38 individual members and 19 partners in four countries. The team’s partners are labour unions and business organizations, government and public sector organizations, think tanks, universities and environmental groups. Team expertise spans natural and applied sciences, engineering, management, law, environmental studies, social sciences and organizational leadership.

“We are delighted by the results of the recent SSHRC competitions, reflecting York’s leadership in large-scale collaborative research projects,” said Robert Haché, York’s vice-president research and innovation. “Professor Lipsig-Mummé is conducting important research with partners in government, academia and public sector organizations to help workplaces in Canada address important issues of climate change and develop work-based strategies to reduce greenhouse gases and energy use.

Two York researchers also received $313,396 in funding under the Partnership Development Grants Program, which provides support to foster new research and related activities with new or existing partners; and to design and test new partnership approaches for research and/or related activities.

“York University is committed to supporting the growth and development of initiatives to enable the recognition of the University as a Canadian leader in sustainability research,” added Haché.

The announcement was made earlier today by the Honourable Minister of State (Science and Technology) Ed Holder. In total, $44 million is being awarded to support funding for 57 new Partnership Development Grants and 14 Partnership Grants.

For a complete list of Partnership Grant and Partnership Development Grant awards, visit the SSHRC website.

Arielle Zomer, Research Communications, York University, 416-736-2100 ext. 21069, azomer@yorku.ca