FUREY: The COP26 crowd should know that Canadians’ emissions are decreasing
As usual, there was a lot of heated rhetoric doing the rounds at the COP26 Glasgow climate summit that just wrapped up.
Some of the most attention-grabbing statements came from none other than Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who called for both a global carbon tax and a hard cap on emissions from Canada’s oil and gas sector.
Trudeau’s remarks generated a lot of headlines both at home and abroad. He knows how to make news, that’s for sure.
It would have been nice though if he’d also taken the opportunity to use the podium at COP26 to offer the world, and summit protesters like Greta Thunberg, a snapshot of what the actual numbers tells us about Canada’s emissions situation.
“Since 2000, there has been a decoupling between the growth of Canada’s economy and GHG emissions, largely because of technological improvements, regulations, and more efficient practices and equipment,” explains the 2021 edition of the government’s Energy Fact Book.
If you look at the charts produced by the government that show annual greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs), it’s pretty much a slightly jagged line that moves horizontally. There are ups and downs, but we’re pretty much at the same place we were at 20 years ago.
“Canada’s total GHG emissions in 2019 were 730 megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt CO 2 eq), a slight increase from 728 Mt CO 2 eq in 2018,” explains the feds.
That figure may be a slight increase. But it’s not like there’s a similar slight increase every year. In fact, the figure for 2006 was exactly the same – 730 megatonnes. That means after 15 years, Canada’s emissions have been static.