Alberta continues to be the highest emitting province of greenhouse gases in the country

Although Alberta’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have declined slightly, they still represent the lion’s share of Canada’s total emissions, driven primarily by the oil and gas industry.

This is what emerges from the latest inventory of emissions GHG in the country, according to which Alberta emitted a total of 270 megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2022. This is a very slight decrease compared to the 271 megatonnes emitted by the province in 2021.

The broadcasts of GHG of the province in 2022 represented 38% of the country’s total emissions, compared to 39% in 2021.

From coast to coast, Canada emitted 708 megatonnes of GHGs in 2022, a little more than the 698 megatonnes calculated in 2021.

The oil and gas sector remains by far the largest Source of carbon emissions GHG in Alberta. In all, it emitted just over 158 in 2022. That’s down half a megaton from the previous year, even though oil production increased in the province.

In the latest national report, revised emissions from Alberta’s oil and gas sector were 10 to 15 megatonnes higher for each year between 1990 and 2021, compared to the previous report.

If we examine the sector in more detail, we see that emissions of GHG oil sands generally tend to increase, while those of natural gas production and processing tend to decrease.

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If we consider GHG emissions per capita, Alberta is second in the country, behind Saskatchewan. Quebec is the best student in this regard.

Photo: The Canadian Press / Jason Franson

Alberta is second in GHG emissions per resident

Furthermore, while Alberta remains the province that contributes the most to Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions, it comes in second place if we consider emissions per capita, behind Saskatchewan, which emitted approximately 6. 4 megatons of GHG per 100,000 inhabitants in 2022, compared to 6 megatons for Alberta.

In this regard, Quebec positions itself as the province having counted the emissions of GHG the lowest, i.e. 0.9 megatons per 100,000 inhabitants.

Reduced GHG emissions from electricity producers

While Alberta recorded a slight drop in its emissions GHG between 2021 and 2022, it owes this largely to its electricity sector. This produced 19 megatons of GHG in 2022, or less than half of what this sector emitted five years earlier.

This is significant, especially considering our province is growing and demand for electricity is increasingsays Marie Christine Bouchard, of the Pembina Institute, an energy think tank.

One major explanation is that the province continues to phase out its coal-fired power plants.

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Alberta’s electricity generation sector produced 19 megatonnes of GHGs in 2022, less than half as much as five years earlier.

Photo: Radio-Canada

Methane emissions falling

Furthermore, the latest inventory report shows a drop in methane emissions in the country, particularly in the oil and gas sector.

This slight increase is largely due to a review of how methane emissions are measured and included in the national inventory.

In the past, methane emissions were calculated based on fuel consumption reported by companies. However, experts have found significant discrepancies between these figures and actual methane measurements taken by planes over tar sands operations and other industrial facilities.

The methane revisions had a significant and retroactive effect on Alberta’s total emissions in the national inventory report.

With information from Robson Fletcher

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