Our process helps Canada achieve sustainable development solutions that integrate environmental and economic considerations to ensure the lasting prosperity and well-being of our nation.


We rigorously research and conduct high quality analysis on issues of sustainable development. Our thinking is original and thought provoking.


We convene opinion leaders and experts from across Canada around our table to share their knowledge and diverse perspectives. We stimulate debate and integrate polarities. We create a context for possibilities to emerge.


We generate ideas and provide realistic solutions to advise governments, Parliament and Canadians. We proceed with resolve and optimism to bring Canada’s economy and environment closer together.

Getting to 2050: Canada’s Transition to a Low-Emission Future – Advise

The NRT set out five enabling conditions to guide this transition: work in concert with the world; exhibit policy certainty; implement an economy-wide price signal, deploy all necessary technologies; and integrate air pollution and climate
change policies. 

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The story the NRTEE has to tell is one of transition at many levels – transition in policy, transition in technology, transition in economy, and transition in society. It is a national transformation within the larger context of global change that is to come. Our advice provides a framework through which governments in Canada can seek to manage the necessary change in a way that maximizes economic and environmental benefits for the country.

Canada can achieve deep, long-term GHG emission reductions and meet the Government of Canada’s emission reduction targets.  The use of market-based instruments to price carbon emissions, coupled with the right kinds of regulations, will get us there. Policy uncertainty will hinder the private sector’s ability to invest in the new technologies required. But with the right carbon signals and international environmental guidance, between now and 2050, Canada has the potential to both protect and enhance its national interests,  while staying competitive.

Canada needs a strong, effective and efficient market-based policy that puts a price on carbon emissions – such as an emissions tax, a cap-and-trade system, or a combination of the two – to achieve a successful transition to a low-emission economy. Delaying action comes with unnecessarily high economic costs and environmental risk.

Five important “enabling conditions” should be reflected in Canada’s long-term climate change policy framework.

  • Canada will have to act in concert with the world to address competitiveness issues.
  • Policy certainty is critical to ensure predictability for new investments.
  • Complementary regulatory policies are necessary to foster investment, technology deployment, and change consumer behaviour.
  • Technology deployment is imperative, and will need to be wide-spread throughout all segments of the economy.
  • An integrated approach to climate change and air pollution should be pursued, to reduce costs and improve health outcomes.

Getting to 2050” takes a fresh look at the most effective strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions while responding to Canada’s unique circumstances.


Drawing from the findings and conclusions contained in this report, the NRTEE makes the  following recommendations to the federal government:

GHG Emissions

1. Implement a strong, clear, consistent and certain GHG emission price signal across the entire Canadian economy as soon as possible in order to successfully shift Canada to a lower GHG emissions pathway, achieve the targeted reductions for 2020 and 2050, avoid higher emission prices that a delay would entail, and reduce cumulative emissions released to the atmosphere

2. Institute a market-based policy that takes the form of an emission tax or a cap-and-trade system or a combination of the two.

3. Develop complementary regulatory policies, in conjunction with the emission price signal, to address sectors of the Canadian economy that do not respond effectively to such a price signal or where market failures exist. Complementary policies should also provide support for research, development and demonstration of technologies, as well as strategic investments in infrastructure.

4. Establish a Canada-wide plan, in the earliest possible time frame, that leads to better
coordination of complementary federal, provincial and territorial GHG emission
reduction policies aimed at common or shared targets, time frames and actions.

5. Apply GHG emission reduction policies that incorporate adaptive management practices and have built-in monitoring and assessment mechanisms to allow for regular reviews to ensure efficiency and effectiveness. This approach will ensure that progress is monitored, compliance issues are addressed, and policies are adjusted to match the required level of abatement effort, and will minimize and mitigate unanticipated adverse outcomes.

Air Pollutants

  • Address GHG emission and air pollutant reductions concurrently to ensure maximum  health benefits to Canadians and greater economic certainty for industry, by designing and implementing co-pollutant reduction policies in an integrated manner.

For Both GHG and Air Pollutants

  • Implement, immediately, the development and design of market-based policy instruments, plus complementary policies, for Canadian environmental objectives, economic circumstances and technology needs, following broad consultation with industry, environmental and other stakeholders, experts, and all other levels of government, drawing upon international, national, regional and local knowledge and experiences.