While Canada’s net zero target for 2050 aligns with the Paris Agreement’s goal of keeping the rise in global temperatures to 2°C, a new report from FTSE Russell indicates the country’s policies are on track for a much worse outcome of warming over 4°C.
The report analyzes the G20’s commitments to combat climate change ahead of the forthcoming COP27 meeting in Egypt. While all the G20 countries now have long-term greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets, FTSE Russell said, only seven countries have 2030 targets that align with the Paris commitments.
In fact, several countries’ policies are “significantly off track” when measured against those 2030 targets.
“This is particularly apparent in the case of Canada, where current policies are tracking towards a 4°C+ trajectory, while its 2030 commitment is aligned to a much lower 3°C+ trajectory,” the report said.
Moreover, the report said the physical risks from climate change are already material for the G20, and will “continue to escalate without rapid emissions reductions.”
Among the G20, Canada and Russia are “likely to be the most adversely impacted by temperature increases,” the report said, as “extensive damage to infrastructure and ecosystems” is expected to “significantly outweigh” the benefits of warming.
Canada is now warming at twice the rate of the G20 average, the report said, and warming in northern Canada could hit 6°C.
While this would produce milder winters, “the economic impacts of climate change could be costly and disruptive,” the report said. Infrastructure will face increased risk as permafrost thaws and glacial cover recedes, reducing the supply of fresh water and impacting hydropower production.
Other effects include greater flooding, more extreme weather events and increased wildfire risk.
“Overall, the potential economic impact from floods and storms has been projected to exceed US$50 billion by 2050” in Canada, it said.
“Our analysis shows that time is short,” the report concluded. “The physical effects of climate change are already material today, are escalating rapidly, and will pose significant economic and policy challenges for G20 economies by the middle of the century or earlier.”