Canada has announced an ambitious new goal to accelerate the decarbonisation of their transport sector, setting a deadline for 100% of new vehicle sales coming from zero emissions technologies by 2035.
The move was announced by the Minister of Transport, Omar Alghabra, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Jonathan Wilkinson, and the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Steven Guilbeault.
The Canadian government’s target will cover all new light-duty cars and passenger trucks, and is a ramping up of a previous target that was set at 2040. The government plans to achieve the goal through acombination of regulations and investments, and will develop interim 2025 and 2030 targets alongside changes to greenhouse gas emissions regulations for vehicles.
Recently, the International Energy Agency’s Net Zero by 2050 report highlighted that the sale of new combustion engine needs to be cease globally by the year 2035.
Clean Energy Canada says that driving an electric vehicle will be cleaner than combustion no matter the grid mix in different regions within Canada, that driving an EV is cheaper than a fossil vehicle and that the industry is due to be the fastest growing clean energy industry over the next decade.
Canada’s road transport emissions have been rising at levels among the highest in the world. The latest data from the UNFCCC’s database show that Canada and New Zealand have had particularly high growth rates, with Australia not quite as high but still among the highest.
Norway’s road emissions are falling fast due to its rapid uptake of EVs, and the UK’s levels are steady due to high levels of public transport usage.
Part of the reason Canada’s emissions are rising significantly is a shift away from smaller cars towards what are categorised as “light duty trucks” in the emissions accounting. Due to the increased size and weight of the vehicles, emissions are rising rapidly in Canada.
“Only bold climate policies lead to bold results,” said Alghabra.
“Through measures aimed at accelerating the transition to 100 percent zero-emission vehicles sales, we will continue building a cleaner and more resilient economy, while also creating good jobs and opportunities for all Canadians. We will also continue to support the automotive sector, including through our investment of $8 billion to accelerate the industrial transition thanks to the Net Zero Accelerator.”
The Canadian government puts the new targets in the context of the country’s broader climate goals to achieve a 40% reduction below 2005 levels by the year 2030, and says that the goal aligns Canada with the United Kingdom (due for a 2030 ban on combustion engine sales) and California.
“Bloomberg New Energy Finance and the International Council on Clean Transportation predict zero-emission vehicles will reach price-parity with their gas-powered counterparts in the 2025-2030 timeframe”, write the Canadian government.
The goals sits in extremely stark contrast to Australia’s continued federal obsolence on transport emissions. A recently released ‘future fuels’ strategy fails to set any targets and does not create any new regulations to accelerate the growth of electric vehicles in Australia. Transport emissions in Australia are likely to rise significantly as no post-COVID19 recovery policies are targeted towards transport decarbonisation.
Ketan Joshi has been at the forefront of clean energy for eight years, starting out as a data analyst working in wind energy, and expanding that knowledge base to community engagement, climate science and new energy technology. He writes for The Driven’s parent site, RenewEconomy, and has also written for the Guardian, The Monthly, ABC News and has penned several hundred blog posts digging into climate and energy issues, building a position as a respected and analytical energy commentator in Australia. He’s spoken at the Ethics Centre IQ2 debates on the need for urgent decarbonisation, he’s served as an subject matter expert on national television, and has a wide following on social media around energy and climate.