It may be his most important task, and setting Canada’s GHG policy course for the next four years will not be an easy one for Environment Minister Peter Kent. By his own admission, meeting Canada’s GHG goals will be a daunting challenge and will require stringent regulations on oil and gas, electricity generation, transportation, and other industrial sectors.
Browse: Home / Canadian Climate Policy / My latest Economy Lab Post: Emissions: Peter Kent’s 178 millon-ton challenge
My latest Economy Lab Post: Emissions: Peter Kent’s 178 millon-ton challenge
By Andrew on May 19, 2011
Posted in Canadian Climate Policy, Canadian Politics, climate change | Tagged climate, climate change, EU, ghg, oil sands, oilsands, ontario, peter kent | 8 Responses
8 responses to “My latest Economy Lab Post: Emissions: Peter Kent’s 178 millon-ton challenge”
Your piece concisely encapsulated the problem: the proposed targets are from another, imaginary planet, and have no relation to the reality of life on this one, in this country, now or in the foreseeable future. Nor should we have a cow about this. We shall continue to heat our homes, drive our vehicles, and power our places of work in the most energy efficient manner reasonably accessible, upgrading where and when we can do so in a practical way. As for subscribing to some sort of self-serving, smoke and mirrors EU or UN plan — that’s about as extra-planetary as the current proposals, which you have just so properly exposed.
Thanks Michel. I think people falsely create a dichotomy between the business-as-usual and hyper-aggressive action on emissions in Canada. It’s all in the shades of grey. Saying that people will just do what they do is true only if there is no intervention on the part of governments, but governments intervene all the time. We wear seatbelts, we drive somewhere close to the speed limit, and if government chooses to get involved with incentives or penalties to drive down ghg emissions and other pollution, then behavior will change too. It’s just a question of how much.
The EU has done much more than smoke and mirrors, but the EU is also well versed in skewing the international negotiations to reward their efforts and circumstances. We need to get better at that.
Evidently this board is becoming nothing more than a rant page for Albertan gripes about the EU and the UN. I would have hoped it was about policy and economics, instead.
C’mon — Give the Europeans some credit — they’ve spent the money — they’ve capped emissions, they’ve promoted fuel switch to nat gas, they’ve assisted developing countries through a healthy use of carbon offsets under the Clean Development Mechanism, and they’ve invested heavily in renewable energy to help scale those technologies and drive their costs down.
Given Canada (and Alberta’s) record on climate, you are not on solid ground to be bashing the Europeans. Period.
Andrew is a dissapointing man. If a comment doesn’t support Albertan climate theology, he won’t publish it on his board. This is a scam. The Globe should stop publishing his biased musings.
Not a scam…just a poorly performing spam filter. We all have our biases, but given that I have been called a “Big Oil apologist” and a “lefty zealot” in the past 24hrs, I seem to be doing an okay job of balancing mine.
Your piece seems to imply that the coal-fired electricty and transportation regulations would be included in meeting the 178 Mt gap, not in the 65 Mt projected reduction (relative to BAU) to be achieved from actions “already taken”.
If so, this is a significant error. The 65 Mt includes all measures already *announced* including the above mentioned. See p. 3-4 of the May 2011 Kyoto report.
“Under Canada’s plan to address climate change, actions have *already been taken* regarding two of the largest sources of GHG emissions: the electricity and transportation sectors. Together, these sectors accounted for 39% of national emissions in 2005 and addressing them will yield important results and move Canada closer to meeting its 2020 target. Overall, the actions that have been *taken or announced* by the federal and provincial governments are projected to reduce emissions by about 65 Mt by 2020, bringing Canada one quarter of the way to meeting its 2020 target level of 607 Mt.”
You also state that oil sands GHG emissions were about 30MT in 2008 and will rise only 20-25MT further (i.e. to 50-55MT) by 2020 under BAU. This is almost certainly wrong, as oil sands emissions were at 45MT in 2009, and are rising at about 4-5 Mt per year, reaching a projected level of 92 Mt in 2020.
See table 5 at p. 25 of July 2010 emissions trend report:
Also see my “Canada after Kyoto” piece for a more cogent analysis of Canada’s certain failure to meet its stated 2020 and 2050 targets, if we stay on our current path.
Good points. My point on the coal regs is that they don’t do anything to sources for which the economic life extends beyond 2020 until after 2020 – they affect potential new plants which would have been built under the BAU and older plants which would have been allowed to continue operating under the BAU but which will no longer be allowed to do so without significant retrofits to meet a better-than-gas standard.
You are absolutely correct about the oilsands numbers. That’s a mistake on my part, and I have no idea how it got past me until now. The figures from the CERI report were GHG emissions due to gas use alone, not total production emissions, which I had in the original draft and then changed some sentences around and didn’t catch the error in the data. Keep in mind that the Emissions Trends piece which you cite was not released until after this article was written – it was July 2011, not July 2010. At the time of writing, the only available source on which to base this were Kent’s speaking notes from the Economic Club of Toronto, and the linked backgrounder here: http://www.climatechange.gc.ca/default.asp?lang=En&n=DC025A76-1. EC had not publicly broken out a sector level forecast to 2020 since the 2007 version of Emissions Trends.
Thanks for pointing this out.