Spotlight Activity: Canada’s Excellent Climate Change Data System Fails to Consider Fossil Fuel Subsidies
Under the Paris Agreement, Canada committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions (GGE) by 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 or to 523 Megatonnes (Mt). GGEs measures include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, nitrogen trifluoride, perfluorocarbons, hydrofluorocarbons and sulphur hexafluoride. Numbers released at the end of 2018 show Canada on track to fall 79 Mt short of its 2030 GGE targets.
Recent public opinion data from the Angus Reid Institute finds three-quarters of Canadians saying that something should be done to reduce climate change globally, but are less convinced they, themselves, have an impact. Young people are most concerned about potential threats from rising temperatures and looking for reductions, be it personal or government driven. Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) oversees data and projections yearly.
Statistics Canada confirms data is calculated within the Greenhouse Gas Division at ECCC and reviewed internally. A draft is then distributed in a formal review process to the Emissions and Projections Working Group (provincial, territorial, and federal departments working in the field of air pollution measurement and estimation). as well as emission estimates for the various sectors are reviewed by experts providing source data, ie Statistics Canada (energy data). Results are then submitted to UNFCCC in April of each year where they are subject to a formal review by a United Nations Expert Review Team.
Canada also reports estimates of historical emissions and removals according to the following economic sectors: electricity, transportation, oil and gas, heavy industry, buildings, agriculture, waste and others. Federally, most climate change regulations come under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999). The Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change is now the overarching framework for implementation of policy across Canada.
The energy sector, accounts for most of Canada’s emissions at 81 percent or 587 Mt. Other emissions generated include Agriculture (8 percent), the Industrial Processes and Product Use sector (7 percent), and Waste sector (3 percent). Alberta has the highest emissions among Canadian provinces, primarily due to oil and gas.
Status: Moving Forward
Canada has an excellent system for collecting and reporting on climate change data. However, there are still some data gaps that need to be plugged into the system. For example, collected data does not fully take into account fossil fuel subsidies that exist. These subsidies can distort the actual amount of emissions reported on from provinces and territories.
To request action, please contact Minister Catherine McKenna with the following message:
Oil, gas and coal are multi-billion dollar businesses, yet every year fossil fuel companies receive billions in federal tax breaks. In a world shifting to cleaner sources of energy, those subsidies don’t make sense—especially when they work against other actions to fight climate change. Please strengthen Canada’s Paris Agreement targets by adding the elimination of subsidies recognizing your public consultation process underway until June 30, 2019, is related to your government’s pledge to eliminate “inefficient fossil fuel subsidies” by 2025.
Send Action Alert Message to:
The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
Mail: 200 Sacré-Coeur Boulevard
Gatineau, Quebec K1A 0H3