Statement by Keith Brooks, Programs Director, Environmental Defence
Toronto | Traditional territories of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishinaabeg, the Haudenosaunee, and the Huron-Wendat – We applaud the federal government for moving forward with its commitment to clean electricity. The first draft of the Clean Electricity Regulations, released today, will deliver significant emissions reductions.
Clean electricity is an essential element of any strategy to decarbonize Canada’s economy and is key to an affordable and safe future. Electric cars, heat pumps and other opportunities for electrification all depend on clean electricity.
The good news is that a 100 per cent renewable electricity grid is achievable, affordable and reliable. Wind and solar power are now the cheapest forms of new electricity generation. Battery and other storage technology have come a long way in recent years and can be counted on to balance out supply and demand and Canada has a solid base of hydro generation to build upon.
However, these regulations, as currently drafted, will not deliver on the promise of a net-zero grid by 2035. They are also unlikely to achieve the level of emissions reductions forecast in Canada’s Emissions Reduction Plan, putting Canada’s climate targets in jeopardy.
Climate change has hit home in Canada this year in a big way. Lives have been lost and this is just a preview of what we should expect in a warmer world. There is an urgent need for Canada to rapidly reduce emissions across the economy.
Premiers across Canada should take notice that fossil-fueled electricity will be all but phased out in 2035 and, rather than attempting to get new gas plants built, provinces should focus on building wind and solar power. We hope these regulations motivate Alberta, Ontario, and other provinces to revisit their plans.
We urge the federal government to be firm in the face of opposition that will surely come from the fossil fuel industry and some provinces. To deliver on the commitment to a net-zero grid, Canada must strengthen the draft Clean Electricity Regulations to:
- Include interim targets that ratchet down over time to spur the power sector to move toward net-zero before 2035.
- Ensure that no fossil fuel power plants are able to operate after 2035 except for in real emergencies.
- Remove the loopholes allowing for fossil gas plants with carbon capture (“abated” gas). To date, the use of carbon capture in the power sector has resulted in expensive failures. There are no existing commercial gas plants with carbon capture anywhere in the world. Carbon capture for the power sector is a dead end – and a license to pollute. Canada should reject this pathway.
- Make it clear that power plants will pay the full carbon price for every tonne of CO2 released beginning in 2030.
ABOUT ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE (environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence is a leading Canadian environmental advocacy organization that works with government, industry and individuals to defend clean water, a safe climate and healthy communities.
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For more information or to request an interview, please contact:
Carolyn Townend, Environmental Defence, email@example.com