News & Events

Hard truths and opportunities in meeting the government of Canada’s greenhouse gas targets

April 12, 2016

Ottawa, April 12, 2016 – The Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources is undertaking a new study that will examine the effects of transitioning to a low carbon economy.

The committee has scheduled public hearings on this pivotal issue, with the intention of making recommendations to assist the federal government in meeting its carbon reduction objectives in a way that is sustainable, affordable, efficient, equitable and achievable. This study will be completed no later than September 30, 2017.

The committee will examine how Canada’s electricity, oil and gas, transportation, buildings and trade-exposed energy-intensive sectors can contribute to a low carbon economy. The study will focus particularly on the costs on energy users – those consuming energy and ultimately paying their gas and electricity bills – in their day to day lives. The committee will examine cross-sector issues and, if necessary, will undertake case studies on specific programs or initiatives.

On March 22, 2016, the committee met with representatives from the Department of Environment and Climate Change Canada who outlined the formidable challenges as well as opportunities involved in meeting Canada’s emission targets. Today, the National Energy Board will discuss its latest long term energy forecast for Canada.

Quick Facts

  • In 2005, Canada’s GHG emissions totaled 749 Megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt C02eq). In order to meet Canada’s emission target in 2030, these GHG emissions must fall by approximately 300 Mt C02 eq. To put this total in perspective, if every car, truck, plane, train and boat were to immediately stop emitting GHGs in Canada, it would remove only 170 Mt C02 eq from the atmosphere.
  • As part of the 2015 Paris Agreement, the Government of Canada committed to reducing its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 30 % below the 2005 levels by 2030.
  • Energy accounts for approximately 80% of Canada’s total GHG emissions from all sectors including oil and gas, electricity, transportation and buildings.
  • In Canada, nearly 80% of electricity is generated from non-GHG-emitting sources, one of the highest percentages in the world.


“The new federal government has made it a priority to fight climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Our committee welcomes the opportunity to dig deeper into what it will take for us to achieve Canada’s carbon reduction objectives. I am committed to finding out what it will actually cost Fred and Martha – the average Canadians – as Canada transitions to a low carbon economy. The end-user – the one that ultimately pays for the energy consumption – deserves to know how their household income will be affected.”

– Senator Richard Neufeld, Chair of the committee.

“Dealing with climate change will be the catalyst for a new, 21st century Canadian economy. As the world increasingly questions the effects of greenhouse gas emissions, Canada has to reimagine an economic and energy future that blends renewable energy alternatives with our traditional energy production. The committee’s study of the costs of renewable energy sources, how efficient and competitive they are and can become, and how they can contribute to reaching Canada’s emissions reduction targets will provide important insight into the development of climate change action policy.”

– Senator Grant Mitchell, Deputy Chair of the committee.

Associated Links

Link to the study’s mandate:

To follow the committee’s proceedings and learn more about its work, go to

The Senate of Canada is on Twitter: @SenateCA, follow the committee using the hashtag #ENEV.

For more information, please contact:

Marcy Galipeau
Committees Liaison Officer, Communications
Senate of Canada