How Canada Can Win the Race to Net-Zero
Key takeaways from leading global efforts
Net-zero is the new normal, claim the authors of 10 Ways to Win the Global Race to Net-Zero, released today. This is demonstrated by a growing body of research, modelling, and on-the-ground efforts that are starting to paint a picture of how to achieve this goal—both in theory and in practice.
Keys to success: First, energy efficiency and electrification, which have the capacity to deliver the greatest contribution; second, a reduction in GHG emissions such as methane in addition to carbon dioxide; and third, the decarbonization of heavy industry, where hydrogen could be a valuable player.
Sweden, for example, is punching above its weight in the race to produce green steel, and Germany has the pole position in deploying a comprehensive strategy to ramp up production and use of hydrogen. The European Battery Alliance has launched a continental battery industry and is making rapid strides toward battery self-sufficiency for its rapidly growing electric vehicle industry.
In all three cases, governments articulated the objective, collaborated with business leaders to develop a roadmap, and provided significant resources to kickstart the journey. Getting to net-zero also requires changes in governance, as exemplified by President Biden’s “all-of-government” approach.
In New Zealand, the government is advancing reconciliation by elevating Māori voices as equal partners in climate action. And, recognizing that no region or person can be left behind in the energy transition, the European Union (EU) is forging new ground with its Just Transition Mechanism.
While these examples of leading and innovative approaches can’t simply be copied and pasted into a Canadian context, they can be used to inform a made-in-Canada road map.
The report’s authors put forth five solutions and five strategies to accelerate action toward net-zero.
Above all, this ambitious goal will demand wide-reaching, systemic transformation and cooperation across all sectors. If Canada is to achieve net-zero emissions and prosper in the process, the pace of its efforts will need to accelerate—and there’s no time to lose.
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The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is an award-winning independent think tank working to accelerate solutions for a stable climate, sustainable resource management, and fair economies. Our work inspires better decisions and sparks meaningful action to help people and the planet thrive. We shine a light on what can be achieved when governments, businesses, non-profits, and communities come together. IISD’s staff of more than 120 people, plus over 150 associates and consultants, come from across the globe and from many disciplines. With offices in Winnipeg, Geneva, Ottawa, and Toronto, our work affects lives in nearly 100 countries.
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