GLOBE-Net, April 12, 2012 - A government report
measuring Canada's greenhouse gas (GHG) production for 2010 has
indicated a leveling off of GHG's emissions even as the economy
Canadian greenhouse gas emission levels remained stable in most
economic areas in 2010 except in Alberta's and Saskatchewan where
expanding oil sands activities led to a rise in emissions.
The report, National Inventory Report, Greenhouse Gas Sources
and Sinks in Canada, 1990-2010, released this week by
Environment Minister Peter Kent, indicates that from
2009-2010, combined emissions rose to 692 megatonnes (Mt) of GHG,
an increase of 0.25 percent while the economy grew by 3.2 percent
over the same period.
The greenhouse gas emissions indicator
tracks six GHGs (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, sulphur
hexafluoride, perfluorocarbons and hydrofluorocarbons) released by
The National Inventory Report says Canada's greenhouse gas
emissions stabilized in 2010 despite two years of steady
The report also shows that
- Ontario 'experienced an overall decrease of 15 Mt (43%) from
its 2005 emissions largely due to the closure of coal plants
- The Energy Sector including transportation produced the
majority of Canada's GHG total emissions in 2010, at 81% or 562
The report says major increases in oil and gas production (much
of it for export) ...have contributed to the significant rise in
GHG emissions. And that "Ontario, the largest emitting province in
1990 ...has been surpassed by Alberta in more recent years as
Alberta increased its production of petroleum resources for export
Changes in emission trends since 1997-2000 are attributed to
increases in efficiency, the modernization of industrial processes,
and structural changes in the composition of the economy from an
industrial-orientated system to a more service-based economy.
Increased investment in green energy, improved construction
standards, and efforts by municipalities to reduce their carbon
footprints are a significant factor in these trends. More
fuel-efficient cars, more energy efficient building standards, and
increased public transit ridership are also contributing to the
trend toward lower energy use.
Editor's note: In a subsequent
announcement, Environment Minister Kent has announced proposed
regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from new on-road
heavy-duty vehicles, including large pick-up trucks,
short/long-haul tractors, cement and garbage trucks, buses, and
more, for the 2014 model year and beyond. See more here.
These long-term trends have had an increased impact on emissions
since the late 1990s. Greenhouse gases rose by just two megatonnes
(Mt), or 0.25 percent, to 692 megatonnes in 2010 despite economic
growth of 3.2 per cent in that year.
Steady increases in annual emissions characterized the first 15
years of this period, followed by fluctuating emission levels
between 2005 and 2008, and a steep decline in 2009 with emissions
somewhat stabilizing in 2010.
In 2005, Canada released 731 megatonnes of GHG's into the
atmosphere. Emissions peaked in 2007 at 751 megatonnes before
falling in 2008 and 2009 due to the global recession. An expected
increase did not materialize, and in fact, GHG emissions have
reduced in almost all sectors. While the economy grew by 60.5
percent between 1990 and 2010, emissions rose by 17.5 percent. This
compares to a global GHG emission increase of 25 percent during the
"This demonstrates that we can grow our economy without
increasing emissions levels," says Minister Kent. "Through a
responsible, practical approach to managing both the environment
and the economy, we will continue on this path. This is not just a
blip, this is a continuing trend."
Kent says Canada is making "good progress" in its goal to reduce
GHG emissions by 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. Emissions
have decreased in almost all sectors, including oil and gas. The
fossil fuel industries showed a decrease of about 5.5 Mt (3.4%) in
GHG emissions between 2005 and 2010.
This was primarily due to a 17 percent decrease in natural gas
production and an ongoing trend of declining conventional light and
heavy crude oil production. This was partially offset by a 48
percent increase in crude bitumen and synthetic crude oil from
Canada's oil sands.
However, the oil sands industry has been reducing its per-unit
emissions, and in 2010 intensity was 26 percent lower than in 1990.
This reduction in GHG intensity is significant, as larger and
larger portions of production are derived from oil sands.
Steve Williams, president and chief operating officer of Suncor
Energy Inc., speaking at the recent GLOBE 2012 noted that in the
oil sands industry, greenhouse gas emissions intensity per barrel
of oil produced has dropped by 40 per cent while "absolute water
use is down 30 per cent," despite production levels now three times
higher than they were in 1988. See GLOBE-net article
"Betting on the Clean Economy - GLOBE 2012 Plenary
In terms of facilities reporting, for the 2010 calendar year,
537 facilities reported their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to
Environment Canada, totalling 262 megatonnes (Mt) of carbon dioxide
equivalent (CO2 eq). This represents an increase of 4.3%
from a slightly revised 2009 total of 251 Mt. Facilities required
to report to Environment Canada are those with annual GHG emissions
exceeding 50 kilotonnes (kt) CO2 eq.
In 2010, just over one-third (38%) of Canada's greenhouse gas
(GHG) emissions came from 537 facilities. These facilities reported
emitting 262 megatonnes (Mt) of carbon dioxide equivalent
The GHG emissions data collected from facilities represent just
over one-third (38%) of Canada's total GHG emissions and 59% of
Canada's industrial GHG emissions. The degree of coverage of
provincial industrial emissions varies significantly from province
to province, depending on the size and number of industrial
facilities in each province that have emissions above the 50-kt
reporting threshold. (See Map)
One indicator of the trend toward lower emissions comes from the
277 facilities that have reported every year from 2005 to 2010.
Their combined emissions accounting for the majority of the total
emissions reported annually over this five-year period. Total
emissions from these facilities have decreased by 14% from their
2005 reported total.
Copenhagen Accord Targets
Environment Canada admits that despite government and private
sector initiatives, it will only get a quarter of the way to
meeting its 2020 goals.
Canada signed the Copenhagen Accord in December 2009, thereby
committing to reducing its GHG emissions to 17% below 2005 levels
The 607 Mt target is based on 2005 emissions reported in the
National Inventory Report 1990-2010: Greenhouse Gas Sources and
Sinks in Canada.
Although Canada is no longer part of the Kyoto Protocol, a national GHG report must be
submitted annually to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate