Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the provincial and territorial leaders are expected to agree Friday on a national climate change plan that will see Canada meet its commitments under the Paris agreement.
Sources with knowledge of the plan said it, along with previously announced measures, will together see the federal and provincial governments cut the country's annual emissions by around 291 million tonnes by 2030 — which will have the same effect as taking almost 62 million cars off the road.
The federal government has already announced some of the key parts of the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change. They include setting a national price on carbon, phasing out coal-fired power plants, reducing methane emissions from oil and gas and developing cleaner standards for fuel.
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The federal government is negotiating individual agreements with most provinces to help them move towards clean energy.
This deal will be significant because it means that, for the first time, Canada could be on track to meet its global pledge to cut carbon emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.
"We have a plan to achieve that," says one source familiar with the plan. "It's a milestone, but the big challenge will be implementing it."
Trudeau and the premiers still have to agree on a number of details such as devising a way to ensure each province or territory is following through on its efforts to cut emissions.
The first ministers will be expected to work on these and other details, and report next year on their progress.
The long path ahead
Without the new plan, Canada's emissions would reach 815 megatonnes (MT), or million tonnes, a year by 2030, according to the most recent report on emissions provided to the UN in November.
Canada's committment, when it signed the Paris agreement in April, was to reduce emissions to 524 million tonnes a year by 2030.
In October, MPs voted 207-81 to endorse the Paris agreement. The Liberals, NDP and Bloc Québécois backed the government motion, while the Conservatives voted against.
Canada is among the 191 signatories to the international climate agreement and has ratified the deal.
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Trudeau and the premiers agreed to craft a national climate change plan that would include a price on carbon when they met in Vancouver in March.
A key element of that plan is a proposed price on carbon that will start at $10 a tonne in 2018, rising by $10 each year to $50 a tonne by 2022.
At the Vancouver Declaration on Clean Growth and Climate Change, officials from the provinces broke off into four working groups to study: clean technology, innovation and jobs, carbon pricing and mitigation.
The findings of the working groups were delivered in October and form the basis for the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change.