Exploring the NDP's energy and climate plans
By EnPowered - September 14, 2021
Let’s take a look at what the NDP is planning for the energy sector and climate issues.
Goals of 100% non-emitting electricity grid by 2040, all new vehicle sales zero-emissions by 2035, and all buildings in Canada retrofitted by 2050
NDP to waive federal sales tax on zero-emissions vehicles and provide up to $15,000 to purchase made-in-Canada vehicles
At least 50% reduction in emissions compared to 2005 levels by 2030 and the creation of environmental justice and accountability organs in government to keep climate goals top of mind
EnPowered is taking a deep dive into the energy and climate policies of the three largest federal parties. We’ve already covered the Conservative's and Liberal’s plans, so let's round out this series with a look at the NDP’s 2021 election platform.
Energy production and electricity
An NDP government would support the provinces’ efforts to interconnect their power grids and foster the adoption of smart grid technology. Overall, the NDP aims to reach a net carbon-neutral electricity grid by 2030 and 100% non-emitting generation by 2040. A Singh government would support community-owned and operated clean energy projects and partner with Indigenous / Northern communities to transition off of diesel generation.
Taxation & Finance
In terms of taxation and finance, the NDP is pledging to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies and change the mandate of the Bank of Canada, federal financial organs, and Crown corporations to focus on contributing to net-zero investments. The NDP will also expand on the current carbon pricing framework, and implement a carbon border adjustment to prevent carbon leakage to countries with less stringent emissions regulations.
A Singh government would also establish a Canadian Climate Bank to help boost investment in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and low-carbon technologies. Furthermore, the federal sales tax on zero-emissions vehicles (ZEVs) would be waived and an, up to $15,000 incentive, provided for the purchase of made-in-Canada vehicles.
Business and building policy
Under an NDP government, large oil companies would be forced to pay to clean up inactive wells, and rules would be tightened to prevent companies buying carbon offset credits in order to circumvent their net-zero obligations. A Singh government would also enshrine corporate climate responsibility into law to ensure mandatory transparency regarding carbon risk among publicly traded companies. To help facilitate the green economic transition, the NDP will raise Employment Insurance (EI) benefits, and increase access to re-training and job placement services to prepare the workforce for the new economic paradigm.
"[...] we also recognize that carbon pricing won’t be enough to tackle the climate crisis. Further action is needed. Building on net net-zero legislation will also be a priority for a New Democratic government." — NDP
With regards to housing and building policy, an NDP government would permanently double the Canada Community Building Fund, and push for all buildings in Canada to be retrofitted by 2050. The National Building Code would also be amended by the NDP to ensure all new buildings are net-zero by 2025. The NDP would also help cover the costs of installing charging station infrastructure, and push for the use of renewable energy in federal buildings.
Transport and fuels
Federal incentives for ZEVs will prioritize made-in-Canada vehicles, for instance in the NDP’s plan to electrify the federal vehicle fleet by 2025. This would allow the federal government to stimulate ZEV demand, and aid the NDP’s aim of 100% of new car sales being zero-emission by 2035. Alongside strengthening Canada’s current low-carbon fuel standard, a Singh government would also provide a public inter-city bus program, in part to help fill the gap left by the closure of Greyhound Canada routes. A concerted effort would also be launched to electrify transit fleets trains and buses) by 2030.
Environment and climate change
An NDP government would aim for at least a 50% reduction in emissions compared to 2005 levels by 2030. A Singh administration would also establish multi-year, national and sectoral carbon budgets to create a guiding framework for reaching Canada's 2030 goals and beyond. The NDP would harmonize federal and provincial methane regulations — focusing on leak detection and real-time monitoring — to make Canada a leader in methane emissions reduction.
"The climate emergency isn’t just a threat to the environment. It is a clear and present danger to the health and well-being of Canadians right across the country. And these effects are being borne disproportionately by the most vulnerable people and communities." — NDP
The NDP would also move to create a Climate Corps of young workers to build an equitable clean-energy economy and respond to climate impacts. An Environmental Bill of Rights would also be enshrined in law and 30% of Canada’s land and waters would be protected by 2030. With regards to government organization, an NDP administration would appoint a Climate Emergency Committee to Cabinet and create a Climate Accountability Office to provide independent oversight on federal climate programs and engage the public. Lastly, an Office of Environmental Justice would be established to address the disproportionate impact of pollution and climate change on marginalized communities in Canada.
The NDP are pushing hard for faster and wider ZEV adoption, spurred by government procurement and financial incentives for consumers. With a Made-in-Canada focus and emphasis on environmental justice, the NDP is looking to ensure Canada’s green shift benefits Canadians in the workplace and as citizens.