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Macdonald-Laurier report says international collaboration only way to meet emissions goals

Despite a commitment from the federal government to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 40 to 45 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 and investing over $113 billion in climate-related initiatives, Canada is expected to fall short of its 2030 emissions target by 48 percent, says a new paper by the Macdonald-Laurier Institute (MLI).

The report suggests that the current approach may also result in significant debt for Canadians without achieving the climate goals.

Jerome Gessaroli

Jerome Gessaroli

ghg-emissions-co2 climate change

Photo by Jas Min

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The paper, authored by MLI Senior Fellow Jerome Gessaroli, is titled Maximizing value, minimizing emissions: The cost-effective path for Canada’s climate agenda. It proposes an international collaboration-based climate policy that could be more cost-effective than the current domestic-focused policies.

According to the paper, methane abatement projects’ marginal cost analysis shows that Canada can reduce GHG emissions more cost-effectively by collaborating with other countries rather than only focusing on domestic projects.

Gessaroli notes that Canada and many other countries have yet to fully exploit international co-operation’s potential advantages. Benefits such as sharing technologies, lower costs, and mitigation opportunities can significantly boost efforts to reduce GHG emissions beyond national borders.

The report highlights the significance of Article 6 of the 2015 Paris Agreement, which acknowledges and encourages emissions reductions resulting from international collaboration. Gessaroli sees it as a route to more effective climate outcomes than solely domestic initiatives.

Notably, Article 6.2 allows countries to voluntarily collaborate on GHG emissions reduction and receive credit for reductions made outside their political boundaries. By using this, Canada could engage in co-operative arrangements with foreign countries to share costs and technical capabilities, thereby achieving mitigation benefits while also receiving credit towards its Paris Agreement targets.

Gessaroli writes, “The projects can lead to further international collaboration and partnerships in other areas.” He adds that depending on the project, local benefits such as job creation, worker training, improved water quality, efficient water usage, and increased agricultural productivity could potentially add to the emissions mitigation.

However, the report criticizes the federal government’s apparent lack of interest in utilizing Article 6.2 to meet its GHG emission targets. Gessaroli points out that Canada has the capability to facilitate substantial GHG emission reductions in other countries due to its range of abatement technologies across multiple sectors, which would help meet its own climate goals.

Gessaroli urges the federal government to reconsider its climate spending priorities and focus on policies that provide the greatest GHG abatement outcomes at the lowest cost. He argues that by embracing international collaboration and actively seeking cooperative climate initiatives, Canada can significantly contribute to global emissions reductions while also gaining socio-economic benefits.

To interview the report’s author, click here.

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