Wednesday, November 18, 2009

GHG Emissions from 1990 to 2006 in Canada

I came across a very interesting report from Environment Canada called “Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions: understating the trends, 1990-2006.” The report is based on data from Statistics Canada in March 2008. I was pleasantly surprised to find that GHG emissions have seemed to peak in 2003, and we are starting to see a downward trend. Though as you can see from the following charts, we still have a long ways to go to get our GHG emissions under control.

Click Chart to Enlarge

Click Chart to Enlarge

We are 22% over 1990 GHG emission levels. Looking at the previous chart, you can see that our industrial processes are become more efficient which is a good thing, but there has been a large increase in GHG emission due to road transportation. If you look at the total absolute level of GHG emission fossil fuel industries are responsible for a full 49% of GHG emission increases, transportation 29%, and electricity at 17%. Alberta is responsible for 49% of GHG emission increases, following by Saskatchewan at 22%, Ontario at 13%, and BC at 10%. All other provinces account for 3% of all increases since 1990.

A full 15% of GHG emission increases are from passenger (not goods movement) transportation in Canada, building walkable transit-friendly communities with good public transit will help reduce GHG emission from transportation. As of last year, BC had one of the most progressive GHG reduction strategies in Canada. Sometimes I have to wonder how we are going to meet our goals.

Looking at the South of Fraser, we are building the South Fraser Perimeter Road, expanding Highway One, completed construction on the Golden Ears Bridge, Highway 10, Highway 15, and Fraser Highway. What major transit projects have we completed in that same time period in the South Fraser? Nothing...

Another area that BC will have to reconcile is GHG emissions and our Oil and Gas sector. The Province wants to expand this sector in a big way, but how it will reduce GHG emission at the same time? I don’t know. Alberta is responsible for almost half of Canada’s GHG emission increases since 1990 in large part from their Oil and Gas sector. How BC will be different than Alberta?

Finally in BC, 11% of GHG emissions are from residential and commercial building. You can read about BC’s Green Building Code at the government’s website which should help in a big way.

We are lucky to have hydroelectric generation in BC. GHG emissions from electrical generation account 2% of BC’s total. We must stay proactive in to ensure that we have "green" electrical generation for the future.

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