Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Huge disparity in emissions targets within Canada

If Canadians want an illustration of the disagreement on climate policy within the provinces, or foreigners want to know why Canada has become an obstacle to an international or even continental climate accord, look no further than this graph. Plotted is each the 2020 greenhouse gas emissions targets set in the individual climate policy of each promise, all translated to % change from 1990 levels. Kudos to the Globe and Mail for presenting the data this morning with the same base year.

Basically, the hydro-based and manufacturing-based provinces (the east and BC) are willing to be aggressive in reducing emissions and the more resource-intensive provinces are either reticent (Saskatchewan) or downright hostile (Alberta).

The objective of this post is not to dump on Alberta or the oil industry, rather to point out just how large the disagreement is within Canada. The huge disparity between the Alberta policy and that of all the other provinces does raise the question about what it is realistic for Canada. If, say, Alberta refuses to budge on its oil expansion and emissions plan, could neighbouring BC even come close to its reduction target? Keep in mind, a substantial quantity of the planned oil extraction may end up being piped across and refined in BC in order to be shipped to Asia.


Anonymous said...

Two points - if Canadians can barely agree with each other, that underscores how difficult it would be for all the different nations agree on something.

Second, the bookkeeping is a bit silly when economic activity crosses borders. Your production in one province/refining in another is a good example. What matters is the sum total.

Tyler said...

What?! Well, really, it's like rich people; if they have to pick between their money or human lives, they're going to pick their money. ...that's not really a simile. It's more of a direct comparison.

Simon Donner said...

The graph is also simply a reminder that almost all the provinces do support emissions reductions (though one may argue only because of hydro potential and a shrinking manufacturing sector).