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Press release  •  4 min

CER’s Energy Future 2021 sets Canada up for climate failure

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Unceded Algonquin Anishinaabe Territories [OTTAWA], 13 December 2021 - The Canada Energy Regulator’s Energy Future 2021 scenarios are setting Canada up for climate failure, say civil society groups.

The report, released today, includes scenarios for energy supply and demand under “Current Policies” and under “Evolving Policies” – but neither is aligned with Canada’s climate obligations, including its own emission reductions targets. Even though world leaders reiterated the importance of limiting warming to 1.5°C at last month’s COP26 summit in Glasgow, and the recent Speech from the Throne emphasized the urgency and magnitude of the climate crisis, the Energy Future scenarios all assume that Canada will not meet its targets. While the report for the first time includes net-zero scenarios, these apply only to the electricity sector. The scenarios are also missing a critical piece of information for decision-makers: the greenhouse gas emissions associated with each energy production and consumption pathway.

This continued failure to confront the reality of the climate crisis puts the Canada Energy Regulator (CER) out of step with the International Energy Agency (IEA), which released a Net Zero by 2050 roadmap last May and included net-zero modelling in its fall World Energy Outlook 2021. In contrast to the CER that continues to model growth in Canadian oil and gas production, the IEA models scenarios that assume global oil demand has already peaked and for global gas demand to peak by the mid-2020s.

The CER’s failure to map a climate-safe energy scenario for Canada risks leading to misinformed investment and policy decisions that lock in fossil fuel infrastructure and neglect clean energy technologies. Ministers Wilkinson and Guilbeault have the opportunity to mandate the CER to instead play a foundational role in Canada’s energy transition by charting a 1.5°C-aligned pathway that ensures government spending, policies, and infrastructure decisions are consistent with a livable future, helps to develop sector-specific targets and plans for a just energy transition. Energy Future 2021 must be the last set of CER scenarios to model climate disaster.


Caroline Brouillette, National Policy Manager, Climate Action Network – Réseau action climat Canada:
“Canada can’t implement a whole-of-government approach to the climate crisis if hard-won progress is undermined by a government agency’s continued production scenarios that ignore the science and Ottawa’s own climate commitments. Canada needs a map towards a climate-safe future at the front and centre of its energy scenarios. Status quo modelling only sets us on a path to climate disaster.”

Émile Boisseau-Bouvier, Climate Policy Analyst, Équiterre:
“It’s quite alarming to see a federal agency so behind the curve on climate success modelling. Most Canadians understand the urgency, the Liberal government reiterated its importance in its Speech from the Throne and the International Energy Agency, not known to be a prominent climate champion, recently put its best foot forward on the matter. The CER has no choice but to catch up and put its thumb on the scale. They are setting us up for failure and it’s unacceptable ”

Tom Green, Senior Climate Policy Adviser, David Suzuki Foundation:
“Modelling Canada’s energy transition is essential for communities, investors and governments. When the CER fails to model a climate-safe future, it stalls the transition away from a fossil-fuel dependent economy. Next year’s CER Energy Futures report must include a 1.5 C compliant scenario so all sectors have a clear pathway to meeting climate commitments and the opportunities to scale up clean energy technologies.”

Megan Curren, Chair, Steering Committee, Climate Caucus:
“Local governments from coast to coast to coast have declared climate and ecological emergencies and are committed to implementing policy to transform our communities at the speed and scale that science and justice demands. We do this work despite being the least resourced order of government while simultaneously experiencing the devastating direct impacts of climate, ecological, and social injustices in our communities. Simply put, we cannot realize new futures when the Canada Energy Regulator continues with status quo moral, cognitive, and policy dissonance.”

Adam Scott, Executive Director, Shift: Action for Pension Wealth & Planet Health:
“This report has no value. By choosing once again to base all of the outlooks in Canada’s Energy Future 2021 report on the assumption that we will fail to achieve climate safety, anyone using this report to make investment or policy decisions would be effectively planning for and locking-in climate failure. The CER must create an outlook at the core of its work that assumes Canada meets our international climate obligations under the Paris Agreement as part of a pathway to hold global temperatures below 1.5 °C. If the CER cannot align its work with Canada’s climate commitments, it should at very least stop producing reports that undermine them.”

Dale Marshall, National Climate Program Manager, Environmental Defence:
“Canadian decision-makers in government and business are ill-served by the Energy Futures report released today by the Canada Energy Regulator. The report again excludes an analysis of carbon emissions and climate change–the most important consideration for energy development today. Its predictions of future energy use should be taken with a truckload of salt.”

Cathy Orlando, National Director, Citizens’ Climate Lobby Canada:
“Please don’t just listen to the Canada Energy Regulator. It is no longer a moral imperative to unwind the fossil fuel industry down. It is a matter of financial health. Canadian policy-makers, taxpayers and investors need to know that in October, Moody’s Investors Service, reported that financial institutions in the Group of 20 leading industrial and developing nations have $22 trillion of exposure to carbon-intensive industries.”

Fiona Koza, Climate Accountability Strategist, West Coast Environmental Law:
“It’s a no brainer. For Canada to meet its net zero emissions by 2050 target, we need energy scenarios now that demonstrate the pathway our country must take to get there. The CER Energy Future 2021 doesn’t take us where we need to go to prevent climate catastrophe. It doesn’t even get us to our own climate targets.”


Canada’s farthest-reaching network of organizations working on climate and energy issues, Climate Action Network – Réseau action climat Canada is a coalition of more than 130 organizations operating from coast to coast to coast. Our membership brings environmental groups together with trade unions, First Nations, social justice, development, health and youth organizations, faith groups and local, grassroots initiatives.

For more information:

Dale Roberston, Communications lead, Équiterre
(514) 605-2000,

Vicky Coo, Communications lead, Climate Action Network – Réseau action climat Canada