A new report by veteran earth scientist David Hughes is reinforcing the argument for a “stark change in direction” in Canadian climate and energy policy.
The report, co-published yesterday by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, the Corporate Mapping Project, the Parkland Institute, Stand.earth, West Coast Environmental Law, and 350.org, shows the country’s latest greenhouse gas emissions rising 3.3% between 2016 and 2019. That figure is drawn from the same National Inventory Report that Environment and Climate Minister Jonathan Wilkinson greeted as “really good news” in mid-April, since it indicated just a marginal increase between 2018 and 2019, from 728 to 730 million tonnes.
In his report, Hughes notes that the 3.3% increase in the three years after the Paris Agreement was signed was by far the largest among G7 countries. The U.S. saw its emissions grow 0.6%, while “the other five G7 countries decreased emissions from between 4.4% (Italy) and 10.8% (Germany),” the report states.
Hughes recaps past analysis of the most optimistic future energy projection from the Canada Energy Regulator, its Evolving Scenario, which still shows the country producing more fossil fuels in 2050 than it did in 2019 despite continuing introduction of new climate policies. And he echoes other research showing a rapid decline in oil and gas employment since 2014, mainly due to technological change, despite record-high production.
“The oil and gas sector alone will cause Canada to exceed its Paris Agreement target of a 40% reduction by 2030, set by Prime Minister Trudeau at President Biden’s recent climate summit, and the net-zero by 2050 target in Bill C-12,” the new federal climate accountability act now before a House of Commons committee, the organizations state in their joint release.
“We can only achieve our emissions targets if oil and gas production is significantly reduced from the CER’s projected levels,” Hughes said in the release. “Pursuing policies that encourage production growth, such as the C$12.6-billion Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project and liquefied natural gas exports, will ensure that Canada will not meet its emissions reduction commitments.”