Canada yesterday filed its update to its nationally determined contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) secretariat. The updated NDC commits Canada to reduce GHG emissions by its previously announced target of 40-45% below 2005 levels by 2030, reaching net-zero emissions by 2050. Canada’s emissions reduction ambitions under the NDC are supported by the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change and Canada’s strengthened climate plan: A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy (read our earlier bulletin on the plan here) as well as the various climate plans of provincial and territorial governments and the climate leadership, priorities, and goals of the Indigenous peoples of Canada.   Modelling for the NDC indicates that GHG emissions are anticipated to decline to 401 to 438 Mt CO2e by 2030. Further reductions are to be achieved with the adoption of innovative technologies such as zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs), industrial electrification, carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS), and hydrogen. The NDC makes clear that Canada is committed to a just transition to a net-zero economy (read our earlier bulletin on the Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act here) through economic diversification and support for workers with skills training, education, accreditation, and ensuring equitable access to opportunities for underrepresented individuals and groups. For further information or to discuss the contents of this bulletin, please contact Lisa DeMarco at lisa@resilientllp.com.

The Ecosystem Marketplace, an initiative of Forest Trends, in collaboration with the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility of the World Bank, yesterday released its report on the state of forest carbon finance in 2021 titled “A Green Growth Spurt: State of Forest Carbon Finance 2021” (the Report). The Report indicates that forest carbon financing remains inadequate to support increased climate ambition and counter global deforestation, noting that 23% of all anthropogenic GHG emissions are a result of the inefficient and destructive use of forests, farms, and fields. This bulletin summarizes the Report’s key findings:   Funding for forests. Funding for forests through carbon markets and results-based payments for REDD+ has more than doubled since 2017, including $5.9 billion to forest carbon offset projects and an additional $1.3 billion for “REDD+ readiness” in developing countries.    Compliance-driven forest carbon markets. Compliance carbon markets have provided over $3.9 billion to forests and sustainable land use. This is expected to further increase as a result of new compliance mechanisms such as CORSIA and the still-to-be-finalized markets provisions under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement.   Natural climate solutions. From 2017-2019, approximately $400 million was generated in transactions through global voluntary carbon markets (VCM), representing 105 MtCO2e of carbon credits from forest and land use natural climate solutions (NCS), as well as generating an overall transaction value of over $1 billion in demand for NCS offsets.     Voluntary carbon markets. The Taskforce on Scaling Voluntary Carbon Markets (TSVCM) estimates that VCMs must grow 15-fold by 2030 and 100-fold by 2050 to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement (read our earlier bulletins on the TSVCM here and here). The Report notes that most forest carbon offset buyers in VCMs are concentrated in Europe and the US, with companies in France and the UK accounting for almost a third of all offsets purchased in 2019.  …

Bill C-12, the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act, (the NZ Bill) passed third reading in the House of Commons late yesterday evening. The NZ Bill was introduced last November, and if enacted will require national targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions on the pathway to net-zero emissions by 2050. This bulletin provides a brief overview of the NZ Bill and next steps:   Emissions reduction targets and plans. The NZ Bill provides for emissions reduction targets to be set by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change (the Minister) every five years, starting in 2030. The Minister must also establish an emissions reduction plan for each milestone year, indicating how Canada will meet the corresponding target. Each plan must also, inter alia, provide a description of relevant sectoral strategies, how international commitments are taken into account, and emissions reduction strategies for federal government operations; and provide projections of annual GHG emission reductions for each economic sector that Canada includes under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.  Net-Zero Advisory Board. The NZ Bill would establish the Advisory Board to provide independent advice to the Minister on achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 and each five-year milestone. The Advisory Board will provide advice on GHG emissions targets; GHG emissions reduction plan, including measure and sectoral strategies that the government could implement to achieve GHG emissions targets; and any other matter referred to it by the Minister. The Advisory Board is to be composed of members with expertise in, or knowledge of climate change science; Indigenous knowledge; relevant physical and social sciences; climate change and climate policy at the national, subnational, and international levels; energy supply and demands; and relevant technologies. Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development. At least every five years, the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development will be required to examine and report on the government’s implementation of measures to…

Five of Canada’s largest oil sands producers operating 90% of oil sands production, including Suncor Energy, Canadian Natural Resources, Cenovus Energy, Imperial, and MEG Energy, today announced the Oil Sands Pathways to Net Zero initiative (the Initiative). The Initiative aims to work collectively with the federal and Albertan governments to reach net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from Canadian oil sands operations by 2050 and help Canada to meet its Paris Agreement and 2050 net zero commitments.  This bulletin provides key highlights from the announcement. Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage. The Initiative proposes collaborating with industry and government to create a Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS) CO2 trunkline system connecting oil sands facilities in the Fort McMurray and Cold Lake regions to a sequestration hub in Cold Lake with the potential for future links to the Edmonton region, modeled on similar systems in Norway and CCUS projects in the Netherlands, U.K., and U.S. Investment. The Initiative will require significant investment by industry and government in research and development for new and emerging technologies, such as direct air capture, aimed at reducing and removing GHG emissions as well as deploying GHG reduction technology, including hydrogen, process improvements, energy efficiency, fuel switching, and electrification. Indigenous Partnerships. The Initiative will seek to partner and work with the federal and Alberta governments, to ensure that local Indigenous communities benefit from both emissions reductions and Canadian resource development. For further information or to discuss the contents of this bulletin, please contact Lisa DeMarco at lisa@resilientllp.com.

Yesterday, over 99% of Unilever shareholders voted in favour of a non-binding resolution supporting the company’s Climate Transition Action Plan (the “Plan”). The Plan sets a target of achieving net-zero by 2039 for each and all of Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions. The Plan sets the following targets: Net-zero by 2039 across Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions; 70% reduction against a 2015 baseline in Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2025 and 100% reduction by 2030; 1.5oC aligned Science Based Target; Cut the footprint of products in half by 2030 against a 2010 baseline; and €1 billion for a Climate and Nature Fund To achieve the goals and targets of the Plan, Unilever is undertaking, among others, the following actions: 100% reusable, recyclable, or compostable plastic packaging by 2025; By 2030, electric vehicles will make up 100% of Unilever’s global car fleet; 100% renewable grid electricity (achieved in 2020) and heat by 2030; phase out high-impact HFC refrigerant from cooling systems; align capital expenditure with their 1.5oC pathways; €1B target for annual sales of plant-based meat and dairy alternative by 2025-2027; 60% reduction of product emissions through concentration and compaction; Replace fossil-fuel derived carbon with renewable or recycled carbon by 2030 in home care formulations; and Help protect and regenerate 1.5 million hectares of land, forests, and oceans by 2030. In addition, as part of the Plan, Unilever will begin to disclose the carbon footprint of every product is sells. Please contact Lisa DeMarco at lisa@resilientllp.com should you wish to discuss the contents of this bulletin.