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.

Just Posted

Grim situation in coming year for northwest, B.C. fisheries

Annual post-season review in Prince Rupert informs DFO on how to manage 2019 fishing season

Sports Briefs

Your top athletes and teams

VIDEO: Dog behaviourist holds classes to raise funds for NARA

Holidays are a busy time for rescue agencies

Residential projects delayed for years in Terrace pick back up

LNG confidence a catalyst for progression, developers say

Terrace one step closer to first pot shop

Public hearing on BC Cannabis store in Skeena Mall scheduled for Dec. 10

Lawyer for Chinese exec detained by Canada says it’s ‘inconceivable’ she would flee

Meng Wanzhou was detained at the request of the U.S. during a layover at the Vancouver airport

Goodale to ‘examine’ transfer of Rafferty to medium-security prison

Michael Rafferty was sentenced to life in prison in 2012 in the kidnapping, sexual assault and first-degree murder of Tori Stafford

‘Abhorrent’ condition of autistic B.C. boy shows flaws in care system: report

‘Charlie’ was underweight and ‘covered in feces’ when he was removed from his mom’s care

Minister appoints former CIRB chair to resolve Canada Post labour dispute

Postal workers engaged in weeks of rotating walkouts

B.C. man linked to human remains probe to stand trial on unrelated assault case

Curtis Wayne Sagmoen will appear on all three Vernon matters this week

B.C. lumber industry trade mission still has high hopes for China

Forests Minister Doug Donaldson cut short trip after Japan, Korea stops

Omar Khadr to ask for Canadian passport to travel, permission to speak to sister

He spent years in U.S. detention at Guantanamo Bay after he was caught when he was 15

One of Tori Stafford’s killers transferred to medium-security prison

Michael Rafferty was sentenced to life in prison in 2012 in the kidnapping, sexual assault and first-degree murder of Tori Stafford

Military closes book on oft-criticized support unit for ill, injured troops

The transition unit will provide support and services to military members struggling with physical and mental injuries so they can return to work.

Most Read