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Demand 100% zero-emissions electricity across Canada by 2035

Canada has committed to achieving net-zero carbon emissions from electricity generation by 2035, but the fossil fuel industry and their allies are working overtime to delay action, create loopholes to keep gas plants running, and make sure their profits continue to soar.

Research commissioned by our allies at the David Suzuki Foundation shows that Canada can achieve 100% zero-emissions electricity for all by 2035, not just “net zero”. Not only will this transformation take us closer to meeting our climate targets while creating thousands of jobs, it will make energy more affordable and secure for all of us.

Join thousands of people calling on the Trudeau government to deliver strong new Clean Electricity Regulations that pave Canada’s way to 100% clean electricity by 2035.

On June 5, the David Suzuki Foundation and allies will deliver our combined petition signatures to officials on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, so add your name now to help us send the strongest possible message.

Dear Prime Minister, Ministers,

I’m writing to express my support for ambitious Clean Electricity Regulations in Canada that will ensure 100 per cent zero-emissions, affordable, reliable electricity by 2035.

The 2022 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report found that energy security is best advanced by an electrified global energy system, powered by clean, renewable power and energy storage. Indeed, Canada’s stated goal of reaching 100 per cent net-zero emissions electricity by 2035 is aligned with similar goals from the United States, United Kingdom, European Union and others — all in line with what the International Energy Agency states is required for advanced economies to be on track for net-zero economies by 2050. Robust, effective clean electricity regulations can deliver significant emissions reductions in Canada, while laying the foundation for even more emissions reductions as other sectors switch from fossil fuel–based energy sources to clean electricity.

A report released by the David Suzuki Foundation in May 2022 shows that 100 per cent zero-emissions electricity by 2035 is not only possible, but can also be reliable and affordable. This report provides a direct response to those who claim a zero-emissions electricity system relying primarily on renewable energy sources like wind and solar is not possible. Tomorrow’s grid can be reliably powered by large amounts of solar and wind supported by existing hydroelectric reservoirs, interregional transmission, energy efficiency, electrification and energy storage. This transition to clean electricity comes with new jobs in the renewables sector — an average of 75,000 full-time jobs each year in construction, operation and maintenance alone between 2025 and 2050.

As the federal government consults this year on the clean electricity regulations, I urge all levels of government to consider these recommendations:

  1. Prioritize the right pathways: Canada must put in place a stringent clean electricity standard that reaches zero emissions in the electricity sector by 2035 and prioritizes proven, affordable, scalable technologies such as wind and solar generation, energy storage, energy efficiency and improved transmission. In addition, Canada should:
    • Avoid extensions, exemptions and loopholes for fossil fuel electricity that would keep emitting generation on the grid beyond 2035.
    • Ensure that no new fossil fuel electricity generation is built, in order to avoid emissions lock-in, stranded assets, compliance risk and increased costs for electricity systems.
    • Fully expose the electricity sector to carbon pricing. 
    • Terminate federal and provincial public financing for fossil fuel generation with carbon capture and storage and new small modular nuclear reactors and redirect public funds toward renewable electricity and enabling technologies. 
  2. Collaboration is key: Governments must take a collaborative, whole-system approach. Electricity system governance — from utility commissions to electricity markets — must evolve quickly to support the deployment of renewables and enabling technologies. This requires: 
    • Mandates for electric utilities and system operators that give clear direction and compliance pathways for the electricity sector to decarbonize by 2035 and to promote interprovincial collaboration. 
    • The new Pan-Canadian Grid Council should support interprovincial electricity trade, regulatory reform and knowledge- sharing regarding high levels of renewable electricity. 
  3. Indigenous rights and title must be forefront: This transition will only succeed with the free, prior and informed consent of Indigenous communities. Ownership and participation pathways must uphold Indigenous rights and title and ensure benefits flow to communities.
  4. Prepare the workforce: Canada must develop and properly fund training and retraining programs for the significant labour requirements in renewable electricity generation, energy efficiency and electrification. 
  5. Develop a national energy poverty strategy: Federal support for regulatory solutions to energy poverty are required. As end uses increasingly switch to the electricity sector, more energy poverty considerations will fall under the electricity sector’s umbrella. Focused programming for low- and moderate-income households must be a priority.   
  6. There is no time for delay: The build-out of renewable generation must start immediately if we are to achieve 100 per cent zero-emissions electricity by 2035 throughout Canada. Concurrently, electrification across the economy must be accelerated to wean society from fossil fuels and to reach climate targets. 
I urge you to prioritize collaboration with other levels of governments to achieve these goals.

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