As part of its broader sustainability plans the federal government has committed to “greening” government—reducing greenhouse gas emissions from its own operations, which includes real property (buildings), fleets (vehicles) and public procurement.
The federal government is one of the largest owners of property and vehicles in the country as well as the largest procuring entity, so cleaning up its own operations can make a meaningful contribution to Canada’s emission reduction targets. Moreover, the federal government plays an important role in demonstrating to other levels of government and the private sector how emissions reductions can be achieved.
To date, the federal government’s sustainability initiatives have had mixed success. On the one hand, government emissions have fallen significantly in the past two decades and the government has put in place a comprehensive Greening Government Strategy with a goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. On the other hand, emissions have been creeping up in recent years and the government’s strategy includes potential loopholes for major emissions sources. Looking ahead, it’s not clear that the government’s emission reduction policies are sufficient to meet the net-zero goal.