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Oct 27, 2015

Step Change

October 27, 2015

Federal Policy Ideas Toward a Low-Carbon Canada

This Mowat Centre-Broadbent Institute joint report looks at policies in addition to carbon pricing that the federal government could introduce to help Canada reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

Executive Summary

Over the last few years, Canadian governments of different levels have taken first steps in the fight against climate change. With a new federal government in power and COP21 in Paris now on the horizon, Canada must calibrate its climate policies with a view to the long term. In addition to carbon pricing — a core policy idea that is gaining ground at the provincial and, increasingly, federal level — seven preliminary policy ideas can also help the federal government steer Canada toward a low-carbon economy:

Laying the Economic Foundation

1. Green Bank of Canada
A state-sponsored financial entity that promotes greater private-sector investment in the low-carbon economy through a variety of mechanisms, such as credit enhancements, guarantees, project aggregation and securitization.

2. Tax Code Retrofit

A suite of changes to the tax code in favour of energy efficiency, renewable energy, and other sustainable technologies, supported by a phase-out of remaining fossil fuel subsidies.

Promoting Low-Carbon Solutions

3. Accelerated Coal Phase-Out

Amendment to the Reduction of Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Coal-Fired Generation of Electricity Regulations, to accelerate the phase-out of remaining coal-fired power plants.

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4. Green Building Compact

A packaged suite of federal energy efficiency and renewables policies, including a revamp of codes and standards, a National Deep Retrofit Program, and a renewable heating program.

5. ‘Lead by Example’ Mandate

A suite of ambitious initiatives for federal facilities and institutions, including on heat and power, transportation, and institutional investing.

6. Clean Transportation Strategy

A packaged suite of policies pertaining to transportation, including a progressive Vehicle Emissions Tax, a Zero Emission Vehicle mandate, and a revamp of infrastructure spending and transfer criteria to include GHG goals.

7. Bio Strategy

A suite of policies promoting best practices in the agricultural and forestry sectors, from cross-compliance with existing funding programs to voluntary initiatives in farming practices.

Considerable work is still required to refine these ideas and bring them to fruition, from costing to consultation. At this stage, this document offers a blueprint for policymakers in their search for the next step changes in federal climate action.

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Prepared by

Broadbent Institute
Mowat Centre

Release Date

October 27, 2015



Mowat Research

No. 112

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