The October 2018 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report increased the Global Carbon Budget for a likely (66%) probability of keeping global temperature increases below the dangerous 1.5 degrees. As a result, we have modified and simplified our charts. The revised carbon budget is 420,000 Mt CO2. Many calculations and charts are still based on the 2014 IPCC report and are biased towards population sharing. (We are working on updating this.)

Canadian GHG Targets

Canadian GHG Targets (2012)

In July 2012 Environment Canada published a report with 2 sets of trends that includes a credit of 25 Mt of CO2e for Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF). The published trends only include the LULUCF credit for the years 2015 and 2020. In order to be consistent we applied the LULUCF credit to all emissions and targets.

Canadian targets

Measurement units

Emissions can be reported in different units. Frequently equivalent carbon dioxide (CO2e) is used, whereas others use carbon dioxide (CO2). CO2e is used in these measurements.

Actual reported emissions (green)

Canada's actual emissions are reported annually by Environment Canada through National Inventory Reports. The most recent report was published for the period ending 2010 and Canada emitted 692 Mt CO2e.

Canada's Kyoto target (black)

In 1997 the Jean Chrétien government signed the Kyoto Protocol. It was ratified in 2002. Each country set their own target and Canada's Kyoto target was a 6% total reduction by 2012 compared to 1990 levels. In 1990 our emissions were 592 Mt CO2e therefore our Kyoto target was 557 Mt CO2e. 

Canada's Copenhagen target (red)

The first Harper target was 20% below 2006 levels by 2020  (this was 577 Mt CO2e). The next Harper target was 17% below 2005 levels by 2020. Due to the fact that emissions were higher in 2005 this allowed a higher target of 607 Mt CO2e.

Environment Canada's 2012 trends (yellow)

An Environment Canada report on Emission Trends published in 2011 makes two predictions: one assumes business as usual and the other assumes the continuance of existing government measures.

The complete 2011 report can be read here

In July 2012 Environment Canada published a revised set of trends which include a credit of 25 Mt of CO2e for Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF). In their trends they only include the LULUCF credit for the years 2015 and 2020. The chart above applies the LULUCF credit to all emissions and targets in order to be consistent.

Here is are the numbers in the 2012 report

Table ES1 Canadian GHG Emissions and Government Measures(Mt CO2e) 2012
  2005 2010 2015 2020
Emissions – Assuming No Government Measures 740 718 784 850
Emissions – with Existing Government measures* 740 692 700 720
Difference – Impact of Existing Government Measures** 0 -26 -84 -130

*   Includes the contribution of LULUCF in 2015 and 2020 - estimated to be 25Mt CO2e.

** The report did not include the Difference row. I calculated it for this site.

The complete 2012 report can be downloaded here

European Union target (purple)

In 2007 European Union (EU) leaders endorsed an integrated approach to climate and energy policy and committed to transforming Europe into a highly energy-efficient, low carbon economy. They made a unilateral commitment that Europe would cut its emissions by at least 20% of 1990 levels by 2020.

The purple line demonstrates what our target would be had Canada matched the target that has been set by the European Union (474 Mt CO2e). 


On the subject of meeting our climate targets, this 2012 NRTEE paper (PDF) concludes that:

"Canada will not achieve its 2020 GHG emission reductions target unless significant new, additional measures are taken. More will have to be done. No other conclusion is possible."