The steel mills on the Hamilton waterfront harbour are shown in Hamilton, Ont., on Tuesday, October 23, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

The steel mills on the Hamilton waterfront harbour are shown in Hamilton, Ont., on Tuesday, October 23, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

No G20 member has climate plan strong enough to meet Paris targets: report

Canada’s push to be a world leader in the fight against climate change may be hampered by its distinction for producing the most greenhouse gas emissions per person among the world’s 20 largest economies.

Canadians produce more greenhouse gas emissions per person than any other G20 economy, according to a new analysis.

Climate Transparency, a coalition of international climate organizations, released its fourth annual review of the climate polices of G20 members Wednesday. The report pointed out that none of them has a plan in place that would actually meet the goals of the Paris climate change agreement.

Leaders of the G20 will gather at the end of the month in Argentina for their annual summit, where climate change will be on the agenda.

Combined, the G20 members represent about 70 per cent of the world’s economy and population. As a group, they are also responsible for more than 80 per cent of the world’s annual greenhouse gas emissions.

Catherine Abreu, executive director of the Climate Action Network Canada, said Canada may only be responsible for two per cent of the total. But she added that two per cent is still a significant contribution when you consider Canada’s size.

Canada is the 38th country in the world by population, boasts the 11th largest economy and is the seventh biggest emitter.

The Climate Transparency analysis says, on average, each Canadian produces 22 tonnes of greenhouse gas per year — which is the highest among all G20 members and nearly three times the G20 average of eight tonnes per person.

“It’s because of the oil sands and because of transportation,” said Abreu.

“Oil and gas and transportation are the two largest and fastest growing sources of emissions in the country.”

Read more: Climate change blamed for $1 billion annual B.C. property damage losses

Read more: Sounding the climate change alarm bell

Upstream oil and gas production in Canada emitted 100 million tonnes of greenhouse gases in 2016, the most recent year for which emissions statistics are available. It accounts for one out of every seven tonnes emitted in Canada and went up four million tonnes that year.

Road transportation, everything from passenger vehicles to transport trucks, emitted 143 million tonnes, or one in every five tonnes of Canada’s total.

The Paris agreement, which Canada signed in 2015, commits every country in the world to working to keep the planet from warming up more than 2 C compared to pre-industrial times.

The larger goal is to keep it 1.5 C because just 0.5 C warmer would have significant impacts in terms of extreme weather, melting sea ice, rising sea levels and extreme temperatures.

Earlier this fall, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned the average global temperature was already 1 C higher and that it will reach 1.5 C by 2040 — unless the world steps up its planned action to cut emissions in a big way.

The Climate Transparency report says Canada can expect little if any impact on its food supply, malnutrition or human habitats. But it warns Canada should prepare for more frequent and severe floods, a significant decline in marine biodiversity and a medium impact on the country’s ability to generate hydroelectricity.

There’s irony when it comes to hydroelectricity. One of the big pluses in Canada’s favour outlined in the report is its abundance of clean power generation.

Almost two-thirds of Canada’s electricity supply comes from hydro. If Canada and the rest of the world doesn’t do what is necessary to slow the earth’s warming, that source of power may be harder to generate reliably.

Caroline Theriault, spokeswoman for Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, says the current government has a plan to reduce emissions that includes putting a price on carbon, making buildings more energy efficient and phasing out coal as a source of electricity.

“Our plan is making a big difference — our emissions are dropping, and our economy is growing,” she said.

“We will continue to work hard every day to implement our plan and meet our targets, and if we have to do more after that, we will.”

Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Rendering of the proposed residential and commercial building on the existing site of the Northern Junk buildings at 1314 and 1318 Wharf St. Victoria council sitting as committee of the whole voted May 6 to send the project to public hearing. (Courtesy City of Victoria)
Proposal for underutilized Victoria harbourfront site heading to public hearing

Northern Junk buildings would be incorporated into design of new structure

Oak Bay resident Hugh Thompson died Friday, May 7. (GoFundMe photo)
Oak Bay dad dies mountain biking near Shawnigan Lake

Community rallies around family with online fundraiser

(Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria police use bean bag round in arrest

Man arrested for assault with weapon, uttering threats

Test positivity rates in Greater Victoria from April 23 to 29. (BC CDC data)
Leaked data shows View Royal top of COVID-19 list for Greater Victoria

View Royal mayor says week was a blip for the township, not the norm

A member of the Downtown Victoria Business Association Clean Team works along Fort Street. The team will be working weekends from May through September, providing seven day a week coverage. (Photo courtesy DVBA)
Downtown Victoria cleanup service expanded for spring, summer

Clean Team members to patrol sidewalks seven days a week through September

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

Dr. Victoria Lee, CEO of Fraser Health, hosts an update on efforts to contain B.C.’s COVID-19 transmission in Surrey and the Fraser Valley and protect hospitals in the Lower Mainland, May 6, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate slowing, 20 more people die

Deaths include two people in their 40s, two in their 50s

The Canadian Forces Snowbirds are in the Comox Valley for their annual spring training. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Suspected bird strike on Snowbirds plane during training in Comox

Pilot followed protocols and landed the aircraft on the ground without any problems

BCIT. (Wikimedia Commons)
BCIT apologizes after employee’s ‘offensive and hurtful’ email leaked to Métis Nation

BCIT says employee’s conduct has been investigated and addressed

An adult male yellow-breasted chat is shown in this undatd photograph on lands protected in collaboration between the En’owkin Centre and Penticton Indian Band with support through ECCC. The rescue from near extinction for a little yellow bird hinges on the wild rose in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, a researcher says. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, A. Michael Bezener/ En’owkin Centre 2020 *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Rare yellow birds need wild roses to survive in British Columbia: researcher

The importance of local wild roses emerged over a nearly 20-year experiment

Alberni Valley Bulldogs forward comes away with the puck after a battle along the boards with Grizzlies defenceman Jake Veilleux. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
BCHL: Victoria Grizzlies named Island Champions

Grizzlies edged Alberni Valley Bulldogs in back-to-back matches to claim title

RCMP officers search around rows of luggage carts as screens block off an area of the sidewalk after a shooting outside the international departures terminal at Vancouver International Airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Police say gang conflict in Metro Vancouver may be behind shooting death at airport

Police said this generation of gangsters is taking things to new level and have no regard for community safety

RCMP are looking for information on an alleged shooting attempt near an elementary school in Smithers March 10. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News/Stock)
UPDATE: Man killed in brazen daylight shooting at Vancouver airport

Details about the police incident are still unknown

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

Most Read