This article examines the government’s recent proposals to address the challenge of meeting its Paris Agreement commitments.

Getting Started

Introduction to the article (perhaps by having everyone read it)

Canada has continually failed to meet standards it has set in order to reach its commitments under the Paris Climate Agreement of 2016. Recently, the federal Liberal government issued renewed plans which would allow it to reach these goals. Their proposals, however, have received much opposition from the provinces who fear the impacts they will have. The increase in the carbon tax is receiving primary focus and the tension between the provinces and the federal government continues unabated. Public attitudes toward the need to reduce carbon emissions continue to change: there is a growing recognition of the need to address climate change but will the public be prepared to respond positively to the needed changes? There will be a general election before the full impact of these proposals is realized so they will have a chance to make their feelings known. This lesson will have the students review the government’s proposals, research the impact some of these proposals will have and decide whether they are prepared to support these ideas.

Subject Area(s) covered

Environmental studies, politics, world issues

New Terms to explain

Constitutionality, tonne, retrofit

Materials Needed

Access to the article and the Internet for research

Study and Discussion Activity

Key things students can learn from this lesson

  1. How some of the jurisdictional controls are distributed between the provinces and the federal government;
  2. Actions that the federal government is proposing;
  3. Concerns being raised by the provinces about these proposals.

Action (here’s how we’ll do it)

  • Begin the lesson by explaining to the students that the federal government has released its climate plan to ensure that Canada meets its commitments under the Paris Agreement of 2016.
  • Indicate to them that they are to read the article in order to understand the intent of the federal government
  • They are to then research the implications of at least 3 of the following:
  • The increase in the current carbon tax by $10 per tonne per year reaching $50 by 2022 and, after 2022, by $15 per tonne per year reaching $170 by 2030;
  • The narrowing of the Clean Fuel Standard to cover only liquid fossil fuels;
  • The spending of $964,000,000 over four years for “smart renewable and grid modernization projects;
  • $2 billion to finance commercial and large-scale building retrofits and well as $2.6 billion for home-energy retrofits;
  • $3 billion over 10 years to plant 2 billion trees;
  • Strengthening regulations for methane emissions and establishing new targets and regulations for 2030 and 2035.

Consolidation of Learning

  • Once they have completed their research, they are to prepare a report, using the facts they obtained from their research, to explain whether they support the government’s actions or side with the provinces with their identified concerns.
Success and Additional Learning

Success Criteria

The students will understand:

  • The provinces and the federal government have different jurisdictions;
  • The nature and implications of some of the federal government’s climate proposals;
  • Some of the objections being voiced by some of the provinces.

Confirming Activities

  • The students should be prepared to engage in a zoom meeting and explain their findings, explaining whether they support the federal government’s plans.

Helpful Internet Searches

Activities to do together

  • Students could explore what is involved in a home efficiency audit.
  • Students could follow up on other aspects of the federal government’s proposals that they did not consider in their research.
  • Students could explore what initiatives their province is taking to address climate change.