Canada has pledged to cut greenhouse-gas emissions by about a third by 2030, partly by introducing new regulations on its oil and gas sector.
Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq announced the new pledge Friday in Winnipeg, ahead of a UN climate summit in December. Canada will cut its emissions to 515 metric megatons by 2030, Aglukkaq said. The country isn’t on pace to meet its previous goal and projects emissions to grow — not shrink — over the next five years.
Emissions were 726 megatons in 2013, the most recent year for which data is available, and government figures show emissions are set to grow leading up to 2020. Canada is in effect pledging to cut emissions by 29 percent between 2013 and 2030, based on Bloomberg calculations on government data.
To meet the new target, Canada “intends to develop” regulations to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas sector, in tandem with U.S. regulations, Aglukkaq said. Canada will also introduce regulations on emissions from natural gas electrical plants, her department said in a news release, though it did not specify what those would include.
The government offered no projections of what reduction in emissions the new measures would lead to.
Under the 2009 Copenhagen Accord, Canada pledged to cut its emissions by 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020, or reaching 611 megatons, but is on pace to fall well short of its goal. Environment Canada figures show Canada’s emissions are projected to increase between 2015 and 2020, when they are projected to reach 727 megatons.
That means Canada’s Copenhagen pledge was to reduce emissions by 125 megatons between 2005 and 2020, whereas Canada is only on pace to cut them by nine megatons.
Formally, Aglukkaq announced Friday that Canada would cut its emissions by 30 percent from 2005 levels, when Canada emitted 736 megatons, by 2030. Earlier in the week, Canada’s most populous province, Ontario, set its own 2030 target of 112 megatons, which would represent a 46 percent cut from 2005 levels — putting the province, which has eliminated its use of coal power, on a more ambitious track than its federal counterpart.
Nearly all the growth in Canadian emissions comes from Alberta’s oil and gas sector. Alberta, the nation’s fourth-most populous province, is the country’s biggest polluter. The federal government first promised emissions regulations for the oil and gas sector in 2006.
The U.S. has pledged to cut emissions by at least 26 percent from 2005 levels by 2025 — a lower target with a more aggressive timeframe. Mexico has pledged to cut emissions by 25 percent by 2030, though its per-capita emissions are already 74 percent lower than Canada’s, according to World Bank emissions data.