Climate science warns that we only have until 2030 to cut global greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) in half if we want to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. The impacts are widespread and worsening: wildfires and flooding are disrupting communities; insect infestations and droughts are devastating prairie farmers; and warming oceans are destroying salmon runs and Canada’s North is facing the loss of up to 70% of current infrastructure due to melting permafrost. The Canadian Medical Association is calling climate change the public health priority of our time, and reports mounting public health costs associated with heat-related conditions, such as cardiorespiratory illness, infectious disease outbreaks and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Canada’s GHG emissions have been increasing since 2009. We are not on track to meet our obligations under the UNFCCC Paris Agreement to achieve a net zero carbon economy by mid-century. By implementing ambitious and innovative climate solutions across all economic sectors to rapidly reduce carbon pollution, we can build more livable communities, grow our economy and improve quality of life for all.
Our theory of change is: by applying a social justice framework to our granting and investments, and by advancing systemic change, we can contribute to Canada transitioning to a net zero carbon economy in a way that ensures productive, equitable outcomes for all. This also includes global equity, meaning that Canada will contribute its fair share of the global efforts required to keep the global temperature rise below 1.5C. Canada can and needs to do a lot more.
The Foundation wants to support those who are currently marginalized or excluded from the transition to a net zero carbon economy, and support those who are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
The solutions needed to tackle climate change should and can also improve health outcomes, reduce income inequality, advance Indigenous rights, address energy poverty, create good jobs for Canadians, improve the resiliency of our food production and allow Canadian companies to seize new market share in the global climate economy.
Note: In this context, we will achieve net zero carbon economy when any remaining human-caused greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) are balanced out by activities removing carbon from the atmosphere in a process known as carbon removal. First and foremost, human-caused emissions — like those from fossil-fuel production and its use in homes, transportation, farming and industry — should be reduced as close to zero as possible. Any remaining GHGs would be balanced with an equivalent amount of carbon removal — for example, by restoring forests, or sequestering carbon in soil.
All sectors of society can contribute to reducing carbon emissions. We support projects that address systemic barriers to reducing carbon emissions such as effective climate communications and public policy changes.
We will support organizations and coalitions advancing climate mitigation projects in a collaborative manner. Specifically, we require that organizations and coalitions communicate the economic or societal sector they are operating in, quantify the emissions reduction potential associated with that sector and how their project advances a pathway to net zero by 2050. Sectors may include renewable energy generation, energy retrofit of buildings, sustainable mobility solutions, regenerative and climate resilient agriculture, training and other transition support for labour force in those sectors.
An equitable transition to a net zero carbon economy requires that those individuals, groups and populations that have been traditionally excluded, marginalized or underrepresented in climate solutions, and those who are most vulnerable to the impact of climate change, be resourced and empowered to participate in climate solutions that affect them.
We want to strengthen organizations who represent marginalized and vulnerable groups and support a greater diversity of individuals to participate in the net zero carbon economy transition.
This may include organizations representing:
- Racialized individuals
- New Canadians
- Workers in fossil fuel industries
- Communities who depend on fossil fuel industries for employment and tax revenues
- Northern communities who are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change
- Canadians facing energy poverty
- Indigenous communities
- Agricultural producers impacted by drought, flooding, insect borne diseases.
Canada cannot reach a net zero carbon economy without significant investments of capital from the private sector. In addition, climate change poses significant risks to Canada’s financial sector including physical risks of intensifying weather events, the financial risks of stranded assets, and wider risks to the system of increased volatility and unpredictability.
This transition requires major shifts in the flow of capital investment and risk management across different sectors, including renewable energy, sustainable mobility systems, building energy efficiency, climate resilient agriculture and clean technologies.
Currently, knowledge and data gaps in Canada prevent asset managers, public pension funds managers, financial institutions from making these sustainable finance investment decisions at the scale that is needed. Meanwhile, the rest of the world is moving ahead rapidly in strengthening climate risk disclosure practices, decarbonizing their investment portfolios and attracting private capital investment in their clean technology sector. Canadian companies need to seize these new market opportunities and attract capital investors in Canada if we are to remain competitive and prosper in the new global climate economy.
The Foundation will support projects that advance climate risk disclosure across the financial sector and that address specific barriers, data and knowledge gaps needed for financial institutions, asset managers, pension fund boards and corporate boards to advance sustainable finance.