Ottawa must tackle obstacles to achieving net-zero government emissions: report
Study provides critical analysis of federal Greening Government Strategy
OTTAWA—A new report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) outlines the hurdles that must be overcome in order for the federal Greening Government Strategy to achieve net-zero by 2050, following a recent uptick in federal government emissions.
The study, Leading the Way? A critical assessment of the federal Greening Government Strategy, finds that government emissions fell by 28 per cent between 2005 and 2015, but government emissions have risen by 11 per cent since 2015.
“While the federal government is directly responsible for only 0.3 per cent of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions, it should play a leadership role in demonstrating to other levels of government and the private sector how emissions reductions can be achieved,” says Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood, CCPA senior researcher and report co-author.
“If the federal government can’t get its own operations to net zero while pushing an economy-wide climate strategy, no other sector will.”
Mertins-Kirkwood says the Greening Government Strategy is a serious policy and the federal government is making progress, but it’s dragging its feet on necessary structural change—which could make transitions more challenging and costly the longer they are delayed.
The study highlights three outstanding obstacles to achieving a truly green government:
- Potential loopholes for the biggest public emitters, such as the Department of National Defence and federal Crown corporations like Canada Post, Via Rail and Canada Development Investment Corporation, as well as some leased buildings;
- Lack of urgency and specificity in the Greening Government Strategy itself. In some areas, such as public procurement, the government lacks data and concrete targets; and,
- Inadequate support for the public service, which is ultimately responsible for implementing emission reduction programs.
“Any policies intended to reduce emissions from federal government operations must be more specific and more ambitious in order to reflect the urgency of the climate crisis,” adds report co-author and Carleton University Institute of Political Economy master’s student Jonah Somers.
For interviews please contact: Jolson Lim, CCPA Communications Specialist, at [email protected] or 613-413-0945.
The CCPA is an independent, non-profit charitable research institute founded in 1980.