1) Canada’s Report to the UN attached. Canada has the worst record of any G-8 country and one of the worst of all countries who signed and ratified the Kyoto Protocol. Spain actually is even worse but it signed through the EU agreement.
2) Unfortunately the global picture is also very bad. Global emissions are rising at least as fast as the most pessimistic IPCC scenario of 2000. Since 2000 the increase is more than twice the 1990s, on a per annual basis.
Canada’s greenhouse emissions soaring: UN report
By Margaret Munro, Canwest News Service
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.
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.
Canada ranks “first among the G8 nations” for increasing emissions, the report notes, even though Canada had committed to cut them. It notes that while Canada’s emissions have soared, Germany chopped its emissions by 18 per cent between 1990 and 2006, and the United Kingdom slashed its by 15 per cent.
“We’re laggards and obstructionists,” said climatologist Andrew Weaver at the University of Victoria who, like many scientists and environmentalists, has been urging the Canadian government to cut emissions for years.
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.
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.
Greenhouse gases trap heat in the atmosphere and are widely believed to help drive climate change. Massive amounts of carbon dioxide, a leading greenhouse gas, is released through the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal, oil and gas.
There was a dip in Canada’s emissions between 2004 and 2006, which Environment Canada says was due primarily to changes in electricity production and petroleum extraction activities. The weather also played a role, with warm winters in 2004 to 2006 curbing Canadians’ need for heating fuels.
But the overall trend is up, Environment Canada notes. “Between 1990 and 2007, large increases in oil and gas production — much of it for export — as well as a large increase in the number of motor vehicles and greater reliance on coal electricity generation, have resulted in a significant rise in emissions.”
Alberta is responsible for the biggest jump in emissions since 1990, but Saskatchewan, British Columbia and Ontario also have seen emissions climb much more than other provinces, the report says.
While the country’s total emissions have soared since 1990, the report notes that Canadian homeowners have been doing their bit to cut emissions. “Residential emissions were essentially the same in 2007 as they were in 1990,” the report says, noting that improved energy standards and higher-efficiency furnaces and appliances have “served to reduce emissions.”
It is transportation and energy production that has driven emissions up, the report concludes. Between 1990 and 2007, emissions from energy industries such as the oilsands and transportation increased by about 143 million tonnes, or most of the overall increase of 155 million tonnes, the report says.
There has been a proliferation of light-duty trucks, the number of which increased 117 per cent since 1990, and a 94 per cent increase in the number of heavy-duty trucks on Canadian roads.
To avoid the most catastrophic effects of climate change, scientists and policy-makers say global carbon emissions must be slashed between 50 and 80 per cent by 2050. If nothing is done, they say the climate will change and there will be more extreme and unpredictable weather, Arctic ice will continue to melt and global sea levels will rise.
“In Canada, the impact of climate change may be felt in extreme weather events, the reduction of fresh water resources, increased risk and severity of forest fires and pest infestations, a reduction in Arctic ice and an acceleration of glacial melting,” the Environment Canada report says.
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