Achieving net zero emissions by 2050 in Canada

February, 2021


In November 2020, Canada’s federal government introduced Bill C-12 with the objective of achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. At the request of the Canadian Institute for Climate Choices, Navius Research undertook an assessment of pathways under which Canada could achieve this mid-century target. This study explores potential net zero pathways for Canada, illustrates trade-offs and quantifies uncertainty across pathways, and provides insight into the potential policy priorities needed for Canada to achieve its goal of net zero emissions by 2050.


  • A total of 62 policy agnostic net zero pathways were simulated in this analysis, all of which achieve Canada’s 2030 emissions target and net zero emissions by 2050.
  • Five key drivers of emissions reductions, which vary in their role across net zero pathways, include fuel switching (such as electrification and biofuels), energy efficiency, reducing industrial process emissions (such as fugitive methane), carbon capture and storage, and direct air capture.
  • Actions that are common across all net zero pathways include a significant increase in electricity generation capacity and biofuel manufacturing, a switch in investment towards clean energy technologies and capacity for carbon sequestration, and a switch to fully decarbonized steelmaking.
  • Results indicate a trade-off between the use of negative emission technologies, such as direct air capture and carbon capture and storage, if these technologies become commercially available, and the transformation of Canada’s energy system and economy to rely on cleaner fuels through fuel switching.

Click above to download the report. Pour la version française, veuillez cliquer ici.

Click above to visit the the Canadian Institute for Climate Choices’s report webpage.

Download the report or visit the Canadian Institute for Climate Choices’ report webpage. Cette analyse est aussi disponible en français.

This study was commissioned and funded by the Canadian Institute for Climate Choices.

To learn more about this research, please contact Brianne Riehl.

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