GHG emissions grew less than expected in 2021 in Canada, report says

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GHG emissions grew less than expected in Canada in 2021, report says

Greenhouse gas emissions increased in 2021 in Canada, but are remained below pre-pandemic levels, according to preliminary data from the Climate Institute of Canada. (File photo)

Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions rose nationwide in 2021 from a year earlier, but remained lower than before the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a report released Thursday by the x27;Climate Institute of Canada. These data suggest that Canada is on the right path to decoupling its economic growth from GHG emissions, although there is still work to be done.

The good news is that& #x27;is that emissions did not rebound when COVID-19 restrictions were lifted, commented Dave Sawyer, senior economist at the Institute.

There has been an increase in economic activity coming out of the pandemic, but the political and economic strategies put in place to curb the growth of GHG emissions are working, since; they remained lower than they should have been, Mr. Sawyer explained.

Preliminary estimates released by the Institute show that Canada emitted 691 megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2021. This is up from 672 megatonnes produced in 2020, but this level of emissions is still below the 738 megatons produced just before the pandemic, in 2019.

This is also less than the 741 megatons produced in 2005, reference year in the context of the reduction objectives of the Paris Agreement.

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The Institute estimates that in 2021, economic growth grew faster than GHG emissions, although Canadian economic activity was still affected by some health restrictions.< /p>

The Institute calculates that in 2021, Canada emitted 2% less GHGs per unit of GDP compared to the previous year.

To estimate annual GHG emissions, the Climate Institute of Canada relies primarily on activity data from Statistics Canada and the Canadian Center for Energy and Emissions Data. x27;Simon Fraser University, British Columbia. This data concerns, for example, the economic impact recorded in different sectors and the levels of fossil energy production.

The Institute also considers trends in #x27;energy efficiency and emission reduction programs, such as carbon pricing, to offset its estimates.

The release of these new estimates from the Climate Institute of Canada comes weeks ahead of those from Environment and Climate Change Canada, expected in the spring.

In fact, the The federal government is in need of up-to-date GHG emissions statistics: Ottawa data shows a 16-month lag between when emissions are released into the atmosphere and when they are reported.< /p>

These delays are attributable in particular to methodological choices and the need to consult the provinces.

“The adage "slowly but surely" does not apply to carbon pollution control.

—David Sawyer, Senior Economist, Climate Institute of Canada

Going forward, the Climate Institute of Canada hopes to release its annual preliminary data up to eight months before the federal government releases its own, which means its 2022 report would have to be made public. next August.

For David Sawyer, these faster estimates should allow the government to correct course and act early to achieve its objective of reducing its GHG emissions by 30% below 2005 levels, by 2030.

Especially since the climate policies implemented by government and companies, such as energy efficiency measures and carbon pricing, for example, seem to be bearing fruit, at least according to the estimates of the government. Institute for the year 2021.

We are seeing the effect of these policies, [now] we hope to see the phenomenon accelerate, said Seton Stiebert , Advisor to the Climate Institute of Canada.

From Environment and Climate Change Canada, Minister Steven Guilbeault said we are effectively bending the emissions curve, after a decade of Conservative inaction.

Opposition parties in Ottawa did not hesitate to castigate the government of Justin Trudeau on Thursday, despite the optimistic tone adopted by the Climate Institute of Canada.

The Conservatives say a government led by Pierre Poilievre would tackle climate change through technology, not taxes.

After eight years of Justin Trudeau, the Liberals haven't met a single climate goal they set for themselves, as the carbon tax has made everything from food to fuel, more expensive for Canadians, said climate spokesperson Gérard Deltell.

Gérard Deltell is climate critic for the Conservative Party of Canada. (File photo)

“Instead of admitting he failed, Justin Trudeau continues to invent new targets to miss and it triples its carbon tax, which is already costly for Canadian families.

—Gerard Deltell, Conservative Climate Critic

New Democratic Party climate critic Laurel Collins acknowledges that Canada may be turning the tide on GHG emissions, but says the Liberals need to stop. fund fossil fuel generation as soon as possible.

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May goes further, saying the Canadian government should avoid congratulating itself . There is still much to do if we are to achieve our goals, she said, including banning hydraulic fracturing and rejecting gas projects like Trans Mountain and Bay du Nord.

< p class="e-p">If we achieve this, maybe we can expect to see a real reduction in GHG emissions, said Ms. May, after taking the time to consult the Climate Institute report of Canada.

Based on text by David Thurton, CBC News

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