Media Releases Nov 19, 2020

2050 Net-Zero Target the Easy Part. How We Get There is More Important: Canadian Chamber of Commerce


(OTTAWA) – November 19, 2020 – The Canadian Chamber of Commerce Senior Director of Energy and Climate Policy, Dr. Aaron Henry, issued the following statement in response to the government’s announcement related to its 2050 climate goals:

“The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has long championed the need for Canada to adopt an efficient and cost-effective approach to climate change. There is no question that if we fail to take clear and pragmatic steps today, we mortgage the future of Canadians and Canadian businesses. As a result, we welcome the announcement from Minister Wilkinson on legislated net-zero targets and climate accounting.

Setting the target, however, is the easy part. Charting the course to reach the target is a much harder task. The success of any roadmap to net-zero will depend on the ability of the government to craft an approach that harnesses Canada’s advantages and acknowledges its weaknesses.  

It is incumbent on government to act on the principle that Canada’s path to net-zero cannot be the same as Europe, the UK, or the path of any other nation. We must pursue a made-in-Canada approach that recognizes our strengths, our geography, and our economy. We are a nation of innovators and a nation whose economic foundations rest upon our resource sector, facts that cannot, and should not, be ignored.

In that regard, the details matter far more than the target. A viable Canadian path to 2050 means working with industry to develop an approach to sustainable finance that rewards our culture of innovation and longstanding commitment to effective climate action. It means recognizing that access to robust international offset credits will be crucial for many companies as they strike their own path and contribute to these legislated targets. It will require a closer alignment between our tax systems and regulatory systems to ensure that key technologies, such as smarter electricity grids, carbon capture and storage and small modular reactors can scale rapidly. It will demand that we find ways to recognize that our oil and gas companies are key stakeholders in the transition, and are in need of policies that recognize their leadership in what is increasingly a shared ambition.

The 2050 target is a necessity, and the path towards it is being shaped by our companies, other governments, and global financial markets. Though a necessity, there are many choices ahead. The strength of policymakers’ commitment to work with Canada’s business community to help them succeed will be the difference between a disorderly transition that disadvantages all Canadians, or an orderly transition that preserves our environment, wealth and economic competitiveness as a nation.

Finally, we must also remain sympathetic to the economic damage of COVID-19. These new legislated targets, though necessary, come at a time when COVID-19 measures have battered businesses, many of whom were managing regulatory costs and burdens that were heavier than many other jurisdictions.”

About the Canadian Chamber of Commerce – Because Business Matters

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce helps build the businesses that support our families, our communities and our country. We do this by influencing government policy, by providing essential business services and by connecting businesses to information they can use, to opportunities for growth and to a network of local chambers, businesses, decision-makers and peers from across the country, in every sector of the economy and at all levels of government, as well as internationally. We are unapologetic in our support for business and the vital role it plays in building and sustaining our great nation.

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For more information, please contact:

Phil Taylor
ptaylor@chamber.ca