Climate Change and Canadian Energy Policy: Policy Contradiction; and Policy Failure & Canada and the Bali Roadmap

Published: Spring 2008    |    By: Mark S. Winfield & Matthew Bramley    |    Volume 65, No. 1


Climate Change and Canadian Energy Policy: Policy Contradiction and Policy Failure

This article examines the relationship between energy policy and climate change policy in Canada. The article finds that Canadian climate change and energy policy have operated in parallel but contradictory directions. The resulting dichotomy helps to explain Canada’s failures to achieve significant reductions in GHG emissions to accord with its international commitments. The article also highlights the importance of the emergence of sub-national climate change policies in Canada and in the United States, particularly in the context of the lack of effective action at the federal level in both countries.

Canada and the Bali Roadmap

by the end of 2009, a new global agreement to combat climate change after 2012. But confidence in the environmental effectiveness of the agreement to be negotiated is undermined by the vagueness of the Roadmap text relating to the U.S. and developing countries. The Bali Roadmap does include a call for an aggregate reduction in industrialized countries’ emissions to 25-40% below the 1990 level by 2020, in line with climate science. But Canada’s domestic targets and policies fall woefully short of this standard and will need to be dramatically strengthened for Canada to play a responsible part in the Bali Roadmap negotiations.

About the Authors

Mark Winfield is Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at York University. Prior to joining York University, Dr. Winfield was Program and Policy Director with the Pembina Institute, and prior to that, Director of Research with the Canadian Institute for Environmental Law and Policy.

Matthew Bramley has been Director of the Pembina Institute’s Climate Change Program since 2001. The author of numerous reports and articles on climate policy, he is one of Canada’s best known advocates for stronger government policies to address climate change. Dr. Bramley attended the Bali meetings.