New Canadian emission data

2008-05-22

in Canada, The environment

Canadian emissions 1990-2006

The Canadian government has published the official National Inventory Report: Greenhouse Gas Sources and Sinks in Canada for 1990 to 2006. Emissions in 1990 were 592 megatonnes (Mt). By 2000, they were 718 Mt. Here are the most recent figures:

  • 2003: 741 Mt
  • 2004: 743 Mt
  • 2005: 734 Mt
  • 2006: 721 Mt

Maintain and deepen that downward trend and we might just do our part in sorting out this unprecedented problem. Moving to a low-carbon global society would be quite a human achievement – even more so if we can also transition from fuels that are running out to those that never will.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Milan May 22, 2008 at 6:25 pm

“Total greenhouse gas emissions in Canada in 2006 were 721 megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt of CO2e), a decrease of 1.9% from 2005 levels, and 2.8% from 2003 levels. Overall, the long-term trend indicates that emissions in 2006 were about 22% above the 1990 total of 592 Mt. This trend shows a level 29.1% above Canada’s Kyoto target of 558.4 Mt.

The overall decrease in emissions since 2003 is due primarily to a change in the mix of sources used for electricity production (reduced coal and increased hydro and nuclear generation), lower emissions from fossil fuel production (as a result of fuel switching and a smaller volume of oil refined) and reduced demand for heating fuels because of warmer winters in 2004, 2005 and 2006.”

R.K. May 23, 2008 at 11:21 am

That’s an encouraging bend.

That said, I think Canada’s Kyoto commitment was 6% below 1990 levels by 2012.

That would be 556 Mt.

Sarah May 23, 2008 at 4:47 pm

It is interesting to see that the forestry sector is already becoming a source not a sink given pine beetle infestations. How much of that impact is still to come, & is it likely to disrupt the downwards trend?

. May 23, 2008 at 5:14 pm

“The trend in emissions from sources and removals by sinks in land use, land-use change and forestry (i.e., agricultural soils, managed forests, wetlands and urban areas) suggests that the whole sector can turn from a sink to a source, which means that this whole sector tends to emit emissions overall instead of removing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere. In 2006, this sector amounted to a net source of emissions of 31.3 Mt. Trends in the sector are primarily driven by changes occurring in the forests. Changes are dominated by the erratic pattern of forest fires, which can hide smaller human associated activities, such as the harvesting of wood. For example, between 1990 and 1998 the amount of carbon removed in harvested wood biomass increased by 50%; it has since stabilized at an annual average of around 42 Mt of carbon, corresponding to annual emissions of 155 Mt of carbon dioxide (CO2). Nevertheless, the impact of major forest disturbances in recent years, notably the mountain pine beetle infestation in Western Canada and large areas burned by wildfires in 1995, 1998, 2002, 2003 and 2004, undoubtedly dominate.”

. May 23, 2008 at 5:17 pm

Beetle-kill and carbon dioxide
Saturday, April 26th, 2008

“According to Werner Kurz, Natural Resources Canada’s senior research scientist, the total emissions associated with the outbreak will be about 990 megatonnes by 2020 – about 1.5 years worth of total Canadian emissions at present levels.”

Sarah May 23, 2008 at 10:32 pm

Is there a projection for the emissions associated with forestry over the next twenty years or so? I’ve searched the government websites & found an article including a graph of past sink / source data & a claim that they do make projections http://cfs.nrcan.gc.ca/news/544 but it just says:

“Before deciding whether to count the managed forest toward Canada’s Kyoto target, the Canadian government wanted to know whether it was more likely to be a sink or a source in the near future. For this analysis, the Canadian Forest Service worked with scientific and provincial and territorial experts to gather the best available information and assumptions… There was a greater than nine in ten chance of it being a source in 2008–2012. Including the managed forest would very likely have made the Kyoto target even more difficult to achieve. This high risk of a source led to the government’s decision to not include forest management in Canada’s Kyoto accounting.”

Which a) doesn’t show the scale of the emissions, only that there likely will be overall emissions, and b) explicitly states that the Canadian government doctored its Kyoto accounting & goals in order to avoid taking responsability for the emissions associated with disastrously incompetent management of the forests. Way to set an example to the developing world, guys.

. April 21, 2009 at 1:05 pm

Canada’s greenhouse emissions soaring: UN report
Margaret Munro, Canwest News Service
Published: Monday, April 20, 2009

Canada’s greenhouse emissions are back on a “significant” growth trajectory despite bold promises from federal and provincial leaders to get serious about cutting discharges.

The latest greenhouse-gas inventory from Environment Canada shows that after a slight dip in 2004-2006, Canada’s total emissions took off again, thanks largely to Alberta’s oilsands, an increase in the number of vehicles on the road, and greater reliance on coal-fired electricity.

“Long-term growth remains significant,” says an Environment Canada summary report, showing the country’s emissions are 33.8 per cent above Canada’s Kyoto commitment.

The figures are based on the 2009 national inventory report that Environment Canada quietly filed last week with the United Nations to meet its international reporting obligations. The full 673-page inventory is available on the UN’s website and shows Canada has the dubious distinction of having its emissions climb more since 1990 than any other G8 nation.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said he is committed to fighting climate change, and his government two years ago launched Turning the Corner: An Action Plan to reduce greenhouse gases by 20 per cent by 2020.

Weaver and other critics see little hope of the country living up to the commitment, given the Harper government’s enthusiasm for the oilsands.

“They’re turning the corner all right, but they are turning the wrong way,” said Weaver, pointing to the renewed upward trend in Canada’s emissions.

. April 21, 2009 at 1:07 pm

“This 2009 Environment Canada inventory covers 1990 to 2007, the most recent year that details on human-induced greenhouse gas emissions are available.

It says total greenhouse gas emissions in Canada in 2007 were 747 megatonnes, an increase of four per cent from 2006 levels. That means Canada’s emissions in 2007 were about 26 per cent above the 1990 total of 592 megatonnes, and 33.8 per cent above Canada’s Kyoto target, which committed the country to be below 1990 levels by now.”

Anon April 21, 2009 at 5:26 pm

This new data provides a nice electoral point for opposition parties. Namely, that the old Liberal policies were starting to work but the Tories ended them and replaced them with ineffective efforts at curing emissions.

That may not be entirely fair, however. Would the Liberals really have slowed the pace of oil sands development?

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