Executing Canada’s climate change framework
An action plan for governments
In December 2015, the United Nations climate talks in Paris reached a milestone when more than 190 countries, including Canada, adopted the first accord that calls on all countries to join the fight against global warming. One year later, the Canadian Government launched the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change, which outlined critical actions that federal, provincial and territorial governments, with the exception of Saskatchewan, will take to grow the economy while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
In this paper, we identify critical success factors for governments and public sector bodies to effectively implement climate change policies and successfully navigate the shift to a low-carbon economy.
Considerations for carbon pricing
The momentum to transition to a low-carbon, climate-resilient economy is rapidly accelerating. The question of carbon emissions and how governments and businesses are working to control them is not new. But recent developments show that interest in harmonized, reliable and transparent methods for carbon pricing has intensified.
Understanding economic costs and environmental benefits
The ultimate goal of a climate change policy is to put a price on carbon in order to reduce emissions and spur investment into low-carbon products and services. The successful transition to a low-carbon economy will be measured by the real or perceived impact on the lives of Canadians in the short and long term.
Accountability and transparency on the full value of carbon
Much has been discussed on the concept of carbon pricing being “revenue neutral” for governments. But what does that mean? Governments need to be transparent about how much they collect from carbon proceeds and how the revenues have been reinvested into the economy.
Innovation was a key theme of the Paris accord. Several companies have already implemented an internal carbon price in strategic planning and project finance to help guide decision-making on carbon-intensive projects, or to better evaluate the true financial value of emissions abatement and low-carbon technologies.
Executing climate change strategies
Climate change strategies will require robust execution. From strategy and governance, to operating models and reporting structures, all levels of government can position themselves for success as they implement their climate change policies. Here are some questions that ministries, agencies, boards and commissions should consider as part of their execution plan:
- Do we have a clear understanding of the economic, environmental and social challenges and opportunities that climate change policies present?
- What’s the right strategy, operating model and governance structure to reinvest carbon proceeds effectively and efficiently into the economy?
- Have we identified the right metrics, evaluation criteria and reporting structure to communicate progress to internal and external stakeholders?
- How do our provincial/territorial/municipal climate change action plans and carbon pricing mechanisms align with and contribute to the national climate change strategy?
- How do we collaborate successfully with other ministries and private sector organizations to demonstrate the real impact of climate change to Canadians in the short and long term?
EY can help
Our Climate Change and Sustainability Services (CCaSS) team has the technical know-how and experience to help public sector organizations prepare for transitioning and communicating in a low-carbon future.