July 12, 2023

In Focus: Spotlight on Federal and Provincial Emissions

Each year, as part of its commitments under the Paris Accord, Canada submits a report to the United Nations breaking down its emissions inventory.

Entitled the National Inventory Report 1990 – 2021: Greenhouse Gas Sources and Sinks in Canada, the report looks at a variety of indicators to understand Canada’s emissions record including total emissions by province and industry, trends over time, and projections for the future, and more. The most recent report, released in April 2023, includes Canada’s emissions record since the most stringent COVID lockdowns.

This In Focus Intelligence Deck looks at the most recent inventory report analyzing recent emissions trends, drivers of those trends, how Alberta stacks up, and what we can expect in the future.

Report Highlights:

  • National emissions decreasing: Canada’s emissions are 7.4% below pre-COVID levels, despite a growing population and a rebounding economy, and have been steadily declining since their peak in 2007. In 2021, emissions in Canada were 10.4% below 2007 levels.
  • Lower energy and emissions intensity driving reductions: Among the four main drivers of emissions (population, economic activity, emissions intensity, and energy intensity),energy and emissions intensity have been decreasing for years due in part to changes in technology and other factors.
  • The path to net zero is Alberta: Because Alberta produces most of the country’s oil and gas, the province is the leading source of emissions in Canada (38% of the national total). But that means Alberta is also Canada’s biggest opportunity to reach emissions reduction goals.
  • Alberta’s emissions falling faster than national rate: Due to growth in the oil and gas sector, emissions peaked later in Alberta (2015 vs. 2007), but provincial emissions have already decreased by 9% since 2015, nearly matching national emissions reduction in half the time.
  • Alberta’s success driven by coal phase out and methane reductions: Alberta has been phasing out coal-fired electricity generation since 2015, which has led to a 51% reduction in sector-based emissions. Additionally, emissions from methane (a more potent byproduct of oil and gas production) have fallen by 44% since 2014.
About In Focus Intelligence Decks

The In Focus Intelligence Deck is a data-focused, in-depth, analysis of key issues that impact Albertan and Canadian quality of life, well-being, and prosperity.

However, before we take a closer look at potential solutions, it is worthwhile to gain a better understanding of health spending in Canada. And that’s why we created an In Focus report on public spending on health care in Canada.

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