Canada’s GHG emissions at lowest in 25 years

Canada’s GHG emissions at lowest in 25 years
Canada’s GHG emissions at lowest in 25 years

Excluding the pandemic years of 2020 and 2021, Canada’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reached their lowest level in 25 years in 2022, a sign that the country is “on the right track”, according to the minister Steven Guilbeault.

This represents a drop of 44 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) compared to the pre-pandemic peak of 2019. Or, in the words of the Minister of the Environment, “the equivalent of removing 13 million vehicles from our roads” .

The latter was delighted with the results revealed in the most recent National Inventory Report, which traces Canada’s emission levels since 1990.

According to him, they confirm that “the country’s economic growth continues to be decoupled from GHG emissions”, given that the intensity of emissions, calculated according to the ratio of GHGs to GDP, is almost half (42%) of what it was in 1990.

“Our hard work is paying off. We are on the right track and we must continue in this direction,” Mr. Guilbeault said on Thursday.

According to the Pembina Institute, a think tank fighting climate change, “it seems that all of the measures introduced by the Government of Canada in recent years are starting to have a notable impact on our overall emissions.”

The rebound of 2022

This encouraging result, however, masks a rebound between 2021 and 2022.

Although expected due to the resumption of economic activities, emissions were slightly lower than expected: the increase in GHGs was 9 megatons rather than 13 megatons, as government experts predicted.

An expected ceiling

Remember that by 2030, the government has set an emissions range of between 403 and 439 megatons per year. In 2022, emissions were 704 megatons.

Canada’s ambitious objectives are not yet within reach, but Minister Guilbeault was very optimistic on Thursday, particularly because of the policies currently in the works.

One of these most consequential measures is the capping at the 2021 level of emissions from the oil and gas sector, which occupies the first position in the list of the most polluting sectors of the economy.

Greenpeace Quebec also notes that the tar sands sector emits more GHGs than all of Quebec’s sectors combined.

Steven Guilbeault is still aiming to implement this policy for 2026, although this remains “hypothetical” at this stage.

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