Ottawa boasts of GHG reductions… due to the pandemic

Ottawa boasts of GHG reductions due to pandemic

Canada has made progress in the fight against climate change according to Environment and Climate Change Canada . A report by the federal agency mentions a 9.3% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2020 compared to 2005.

However, this decrease is mainly observed between 2019 and 2020, when it was 8.9%. This period corresponds to the pandemic, when economic activity and car travel have been substantially reduced. If we exclude this period to keep only that from 2005 to 2019, the drop in GHG emissions was only 1%.

This 2020 decline can hardly be attributed to government action. In a press release, Environment and Climate Change Canada says the country's progress is due to “the intensification of its actions”.

Furthermore, the emissions of Canadians remain far too high. The report estimates that annual GHG emissions per capita were 19.4 tonnes in the pre-pandemic period. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recommends that this per capita emissions figure be two tonnes.

The Trudeau government nevertheless estimates that thanks to the measures put forward, the country would be on track to cut its GHG emissions per capita by 40% by 2030 compared to 2005.

Canada, bad student?

Ottawa is pleased with several actions that it would have taken in favor of the fight against climate change. Environment and Climate Change Canada has been promoting carbon pricing since 2019, the obligation to sell carbon neutral cars in 2035 as well as various support and funding granted.

However, the federal government also distinguished itself in 2022 with the approval in April of the Bay du Nord oil development project. In its latest report, the IPCC nevertheless castigated the increase in oil production and insisted on the necessary halt to new hydrocarbon infrastructures. For their part, the Canadian authorities state in their report that they only want to cap emissions linked to the production of hydrocarbons, but do not mention a moratorium on these new infrastructures.

In 2022, the IPCC also recalled the importance of modifying dietary habits so as to reduce meat consumption and consume more local foods. In its report and its plans, Environment and Climate Change Canada does not provide any guidance that follows this path.

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