Surging greenhouse gas emissions from tar sands/oil sands and other upstream fossil fuel production offset nearly all of the 39-MT decrease in emissions resulting from Ontario’s decision to eliminate coal-fired electricity generation and other carbon reduction initiatives, according to the 2014 national greenhouse gas inventory released last week by Environment and Climate Change Canada.
Six provinces’ emissions have declined since 2005, while four, led by Alberta and Saskatchewan, have grown.
Despite two decades of promises to reduce emissions, the inventory shows the country’s releases of climate-disrupting carbon pollution continued their post-recession rise in 2014. The department said the country’s aggregate 2014 GHG emissions were equivalent to 732 megatonnes of carbon dioxide—close to the 735-MT level the then-Conservative government reported to the United Nations would not be reached until seven years later, in 2020.
Canada has made several greenhouse-gas commitments over the years, for varying degrees of reduction, relative to different years, to be achieved over different time frames. It formally renounced the first of those, made at Kyoto, in 2011. Its current target, established last May, is to cut emissions 30% below 2005 levels, to around 599 MT, by 2030.
The country’s emissions slipped to their lowest point since 1999 in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, but have rebounded since. The newly-reported 2014 emissions were 0.8% higher than 2013’s 726 MT, and about 2% below the latest benchmark year of 2005.
“The energy sector made up 81% of Canada’s GHG emissions in 2014,” CBC reports, “with agriculture the next biggest sector at 8%.”
Earlier this year, the government projected that on current trends, GHG emissions will reach 768 MT by 2020—4% higher than the 2005 baseline of 736 MT. By 2030, Canada’s emissions are now expected to reach 815 MT, about 36% above the national commitment.
The United States’ GHG inventory for 2014 showed emissions increasing for the second year in a row, by about 1%, to 6,870 MT, Climate Progress reported.