Opinion: True or False: Canada Falling Behind on Greenhouse Gas Emissions?

The latest international climate change meeting is underway in Bonn, Germany. There is the usual concern about insufficient progress in tackling greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and finger pointing at countries seen as not doing their part. Some of this criticism is warranted. In certain quarters, Canada is once again chastised for being a laggard: not doing enough, fast enough, while the United States, which has withdrawn from the Paris Accord, is taking credit for big reductions in emissions.

The starting point for most global comparisons is 1990, with electricity generation being an important sector that accounts for a big slice of emissions in most countries.

Contrary to what some may believe, it is not true that US emissions from electricity generation have fallen since 1990. It is true if the starting point is 2005. In any case, Canada has outperformed the US in bringing down electricity-related GHG emissions, with a cumulative drop of 17 per cent since 1990. Over the same period, US electricity sector emissions rose by 17 per cent. Canada also fares well if the starting point is 2005, notching a 33 per cent decline in electricity-related emissions to 2015, compared to 29 per cent for the United States.

As for other sectors that contribute to GHGs — transportation, agriculture, commercial, residential and agriculture — the distribution of emissions in Canada and the US is similar. Both countries’ total emissions have climbed since 1990, but declined since 2005. The overall drop in emissions was larger for the US in the most recent decade. This mainly reflects one key factor: the shift from coal to natural gas in the electricity sector. Most of the recent fall in American energy GHG emissions came from replacing coal with more efficient natural gas generation …read more

Source:: Vancouver Sun

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