Canada's Emissions and Carbon Budget

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) carbon budget2 is shared among all countries. There are a number of proposed sharing strategies.


Canada's population share1 of the global carbon budget is 2,700 Mt CO2e for a likely (66%) chance of keeping the increase in global temperatures below 1.5 degrees C. Canada's emissions share4 is 9,140 Mt CO2e.


We have calculated that if Canada is to follow the emission path in the Pan-Canadian Framework (PCF)3 we will exceed our population share by 2021 and our emissions share by 2033.


The following charts illustrate the effect of population and emission sharing on the cumulative CO2e that Canada will emit. They also illustrate the effect of the PCF and IPCC reduction targets.


Comparing projected cumulative emissions if follow PCF with the new IPCC target


In order to use population sharing Canada's emissions will need to be reduced to net-zero by 2025. If we use population sharing we won't have enough time to get to net-zero emissions. Our alternatives will be to use other sharing strategies (e.g. emissions sharing,) Carbon Capture and Storage, and assist underdeveloped countries in reducing their emissions.


For emissions sharing Canada's emissions will need to be reduced to net-zero by 2041.


According to Climate Action Tracker:

On 15 May 2015, Canada submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) (pdf), proposing an economy-wide target to reduce GHG emissions to 30% below 2005 levels by 2030. Canada has indicated that it may also use international credits to meet its target. Considering the upward trajectory of the current policy projection against the pledge trajectory, Canada would need to use a large quantity of international credits to meet its target.

Canada intends to use a “net-net” approach to account for LULUCF emissions and a production approach to account for harvested wood products. Accounting for Harvested Wood Products (HWPs) must be performed in a consistent and compatible manner across countries so that accounting of imported and exported HWPs is complete and emissions are not excluded from inventories. It excludes emissions from natural disturbances (e.g. forest fires and insect outbreaks).

In its INDC communication, Canada does not quantify the impact of these accounting rules on the emissions level for compliance in 2030. According to our best estimate based on available data, the net-net accounting approach will generate 126 Mt CO2e of credits for Canada in 2030 (see assumptions for further details). Using LULUCF credits weakens the INDC, as these credits can be used to offset emissions increases in other sectors such as energy and industry. We estimate this target is a reduction of 13% below 2005 levels of industrial GHG emissions. This is equivalent to an increase of 8% above 1990 levels.


Canada's Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC)6 states, "Canada may also use international mechanisms to achieve the target, subject to robust systems that deliver real and verified emissions reductions." Canada seems to believe in market-based solutions to our otherwise inadequate targets.


Does this mean financing mitigation, adaptation and loss and damage in developing countries? According to Civil Society Equity Review:

As a supplement to their domestic INDCs, each developed country party should set a target to provide the means of implementation to developing countries to address the emissions reductions gap. Developed countries should pledge to work with developing countries to implement the additional actions that are needed. Significantly scaled-up public finance for adaptation and to address loss and damage are also imperative, given the significant impacts that are already being felt, and the escalating impacts that are expected.


1. Canada's population share is the share of the carbon budget based on the population as a fraction of the global carbon budget. Canada's share of the global population is 0.5%.

2. The October 2018 IPCC global carbon budget is 420 Gt CO2 for a likely (66%) chance of keeping global temperatures from increasing more that 1.5 C. IPCC reports budgets using CO2 but Canada reports most emissions as CO2e which includes other warming gases and is approximately 1.3 times the amount of CO2.

3. Canada's Pan-Canadian Framework reduction targets are 30% by 2030 and 80% by 2050 (of 2005 emissions.)

4. An emissions share is the share of the global carbon budget calculated as the fraction of Canada's emissions as a share of the global carbon budget. Canada's share of global emissions is 1.7%.

5. The recommended IPCC reduction targets are 45% of by 2030 and 100% by 2050 (of 2010 emissions.)

6. Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) embody efforts by each country to reduce national emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change. Canada's PCF enables Canada to meet or exceed its NDC.