Today marks the release of the Climate Action 2024 report by the RBC Climate Action Institute, presenting an unprecedented assessment of Canada’s climate journey and preparedness. The findings underscore a concerning trend: Canada may not be on course to achieve its climate objectives and must significantly boost climate investments to attain Net Zero status by 2050.
Drawing insights from extensive population surveys, industry datasets, and specialized research methodologies, the dedicated team at the newly established RBC Climate Action Institute delves into various aspects of Canada’s climate readiness. Climate Action 2024 delves into six pivotal sectors – Oil & Gas, Transportation, Buildings, Electricity, Heavy Industry, and Agriculture – pinpointing the most pressing challenges or opportunities within each domain. The report, shaped by consultations with climate experts, governmental bodies, industries, and local communities, explores actionable ideas pivotal for Canada’s journey towards Net Zero.
John Stackhouse, SVP at the Office of the CEO, RBC, emphasizes the imperative for a substantial increase in capital directed towards the energy transition. While noting a 50% rise since 2021, largely due to federal commitments, Stackhouse stresses the urgent need for this figure to double swiftly, with collaboration from the private sector and governmental support.
Despite commendable strides in sectors like electric vehicle adoption and home retrofitting, the latest research from the RBC Climate Action Institute highlights the necessity for accelerated progress. Key findings from the report include:
- The federal government has shouldered approximately 80% of climate action costs since 2016, necessitating increased spending from provinces to realign Canada’s trajectory.
- Over half of Canadian businesses have set emissions reduction targets for 2030, with 96% of CEOs expressing confidence in achieving them.
- While around two-thirds of Canadians express a desire to do more for climate action, approximately half are hesitant about measures potentially impacting their standard of living.
- Government subsidies have facilitated consumer uptake of home retrofitting, mitigating the “green premium” barrier.
- Prioritizing methane reduction can yield quicker climate results compared to long-term investments in carbon capture, utilization, and storage.
- Wind power has emerged as Canada’s primary new clean energy source, although substantial additional capacity, equivalent to powering all homes in British Columbia and Alberta, is needed to meet 2030 renewable energy targets.
In addition to offering a macroscopic analysis of decarbonization pathways, Climate Action 2024 spotlights pioneering Canadian companies driving climate innovation. From family farms adopting biological fertilizers to mitigate soil degradation to manufacturers blending emissions from cement production with waste materials for novel building materials, these companies exemplify climate leadership.
Myha Truong-Regan, Head of Climate Research at RBC Climate Action Institute, acknowledges Canadians’ motivation to address climate change but stresses the urgency of faster action. Truong-Regan highlights a key challenge: only 28% of Canadians are willing to pay more for essentials like food, energy, and travel, underscoring the need for affordable technological solutions such as electric vehicles and heat pumps. Truong-Regan sees an opportunity for provinces to bolster climate spending and mainstream these solutions, facilitating faster progress towards climate goals.