By signing the Paris Agreement, Canada committed to do its fair share to limit global average temperature rise to “well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels”, and to pursue “efforts to limit the increase to 1.5°C.” The new federal Impact Assessment Act will require consideration of whether assessed projects would “hinder or contribute to” meeting Canada’s climate change commitments. So far, however, Canada has done little to define what the Paris Agreement entails for planning, assessment and decision making on projects and other undertakings with significant implications for meeting the Paris commitments. That leaves a large gap in law, policy and practice between Canada’s commitments and the assessment of major undertakings.
To inform serious efforts to fill that gap, the Paris to Projects Research Initiative examines:
- what the Paris Agreement’s temperature goals imply for global and Canadian GHG reduction targets in light of “fair share” principles and feasible pathways;
- what is needed to raise Canadian climate change mitigation ambitions to the Paris Agreement level, and ensure sufficiently strengthened and clarified targets, frameworks and applied tools to inform assessments of particular undertakings; and
- how to translate these needs and tools into well-specified and authoritative requirements for effective application under assessment law.