The low-carbon economy fund in this week’s federal budget sets the stage for negotiations around Canada’s national climate plan, with criteria that “strongly suggest the federal government intends to push provinces and territories hard to do more than currently planned to reach and exceed climate targets,” Climate Action Network Canada Executive Director Louise Comeau suggests in a day-after analysis.
The $2-billion Low Carbon Economy Fund begins in 2017, timing that “aligns precisely with expectations that premiers and the Prime Minister will conclude national climate plan negotiations in late 2016 in time for the 2017 budget,” Comeau writes. But while the fund criterion—that “resources will be allocated towards those projects that yield the greatest absolute greenhouse gas reductions for the lowest cost per tonne”— bodes well for the upcoming negotiations, she says it’s just as important to keep Canada’s longer-term climate goals in mind.
“Money for Tonnes is important to negotiating with provinces and territories. It shows that the federal government is serious about attaining our climate protection targets,” she writes. “It is also important, however, not to forget that Canada and the world have both short-term targets (to 2020 and 2030), as well as long-term decarbonization goals (to 2050 and beyond).”
While supporting immediate carbon reduction, the federal government “also needs to invest in longer-term projects that stimulate transformation and deep decarbonization,” while coordinating its various green infrastructure programs to “create a cycle of learning and improvement.”