Politics

FUREY: The COP26 crowd should know that Canadians’ emissions are decreasing

Article content

As usual, there was a lot of heated rhetoric doing the rounds at the COP26 Glasgow climate summit that just wrapped up.

Advertisement

Article content

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.

Because while you wouldn’t know it from the way everyone’s talking, Canadians’ emissions are actually going down. A lot.

This information comes courtesy of none other than the federal government’s own annual reports on energy.

Advertisement

Article content

We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

“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.

Advertisement

Article content

How this translates into a decrease in emissions is that this number has remained flat even as Canada’s population has significantly increased. The energy fact book explains that Canada’s emissions have gone down by 20% per capita over the past 20 years.

We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

That’s quite something and it would be nice if the word got out more. That emissions in Canada are not out of control serves as a sober check on the more extreme rhetoric we hear about an imminent climate crisis. It should also make more people re-think whether we really need to be ratcheting up the current carbon tax and adding a second, overlapping, carbon tax, which is what will happen with the implementation of next year’s Clean Fuel Standard tax.

So, what should the plan be moving forward? The government energy fact book already shows us the way. Better technology and greater efficiency are what has brought us to where we are and that will only continue.

Advertisement

Article content

“The Canadian industry spent about $1.5B on energy R&D in 2017,” the report explains – and that $500 million of that was on clean energy and green initiatives. (This count doesn’t include the taxpayer money that government funneled into such projects.)

The private sector is on it, by their own volition. And they’d still be on it regardless of how many cocktails an activist drank at COP26.

There are those who would have you believe that the only initiatives that can bring about advances in the green sector are grandiose proclamations from politicians and NGOs at places like COP26.

But the truth is, whatever it was that crowd got up to for the past two weeks in Glasgow was mostly a red herring. If you want real results, the numbers to date tell us to look to private innovation over public policy.

    Advertisement

    Comments

    Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.



    Source link

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *