Why Isn’t Canada Meeting Its Greenhouse Gas Emission Targets?

Allocating Canadian Greenhouse Gas Emission Reductions Amongst Sources and Provinces: Learning from the European Union, Australia and Germany (185 page pdf, Douglas Macdonald, Jochen Monstadt, Kristine Kern, University of Toronto, Apr 2013)

Also discussed here: Kyoto Protocol (Wikipedia)

And here: State-and-Trends of the Environment: 1987–2007 Chapter 2 Atmosphere (44 page pdf, United National Environment Program, 2008)

And here: History of the Global Climate Change Regime (18 page pdf, Daniel Bodansky, 2012)

And here: 2014 Air Quality and Climate Change Management Plan (165 page pdf, City of Ottawa Environment Committee, May 20, 2014)

The quick answer to the question posed is: lack of engagement and consensus for action by the provinces who have prime responsibility for energy, environment and natural resources. Today, we review an academic report and analysis of the reasons for Canada’s failure to meet international agreements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions since the first commitments were made by the Prime Minister at the United Nations-sponsored “Changing the Atmosphere Conference” in Toronto in 1988 – where it was agreed that Global CO2 emissions be cut by 20% by 2005 but without national obligations which came later with the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. He made this commitment without having prior provincial support to do so – an issue not a faced by most other heads of government, even from nations with states or provinces, such as Australia or Germany (whose efforts to reduce GHG emissions are also analysed in this report).

The lack of national leadership (and mandate), the lack of provincial consensus and the difficulty in getting provincial agreement, even with a national coordination secretariat (which existed from 1998-2003), is blamed on the uneven costs for implementing  such a plan, with most of the costs and emissions coming from Alberta and Ontario whose energy and transportation sectors make up over 80% of the emissions for Canada. On top of this, the resistance of Canada’s largest trading partner, the USA, to agree to reductions has hampered Canadian efforts, let alone ratify the agreement under the Kyoto Protocol to reduce emissions by 6% (base year 1990) by 2012. The current administration in 2011 decided to withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol and adopt a goal of a 17% reduction in total emissions (from a 2005 base year) by 2020, consistent with American plans, but again without consensus on provincial responsibilities.

ghg allocations canadaghg sources canada 2008


To see Key Quotes and Links to key reports about this post, click HERE


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