A Climate Change Plan for the Purposes of the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act

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Canada’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions in 2009

According to the latest National Greenhouse Gas Inventory, total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Canada in 2009 were approximately 690 Mt, a decrease of approximately 6% (42 Mt) from the revised 2008 total (732 Mt). This was the second year in a row that emissions decreased, caused in part by the global recession and reduced use of coal for electricity generation.

On an activity basis, energy activities produced the majority of Canada’s GHG emissions in 2009, at 82% or 566 Mt (73% fossil fuel combustion, 9% fugitive sources). The remaining 18% of total Canadian emissions was largely generated by activities within the agriculture (8% of total emissions) and industrial processes sectors (7%), with minor contributions from the waste (3%) and solvent and other product use activities.

Activity Breakdown of Canada's GHG Emissions-2009

Estimating Emission Reductions

The Emissions Inventory for 2009 is the second for the Kyoto Protocol reporting period. Since many of the measures that are detailed in this Plan were implemented in 2006, the early effects of those measures are captured in the inventory data. In order to evaluate program performance for 2008 and 2009, it is necessary to compare National Inventory emissions to a scenario that assumes no federal government action.

The table below presents “actual” emission reductions attributable to the federal measures identified in this Plan for 2008 and 2009. In the absence of the federal measures, emissions for 2008 and 2009 are projected to be 734 Mt and 694 Mt respectively. Comparing projected emissions excluding federal measures to actual emissions reported in the National Inventory Report (732 Mt for 2008 and 690 Mt for 2009), emission reductions attributable to federal actions for the “most likely” baseline are 2 Mt in 2008 and 4 Mt in 2009.

Paragraph 5 (1) (b) of the Act requires that the GHG emission reductions that have resulted, or are expected to result, for each year up to and including 2012, be compared to the levels in the most recently available emission inventory for Canada. Estimating the “actual” reductions attributable to federal government measures, and moreover any provincial, territorial, and utility programs, is highly challenging. There are many variables at play that influence the estimation of “actual” reductions:

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Estimating “actual” reductions relative to the National Inventory Report requires the development of a counter-factual baseline. Thus, the 2009 baseline estimates Canadian emissions for that year while excluding the effects of federal Government programs announced after 2006 (i.e. those programs detailed in this Plan).18 The baseline does include the effects of federal measures announced before 2006, as well as the effects of all current provincial government policies and programs discussed earlier. This 2009 baseline can be compared against the 2008 and 2009 Emissions Inventory to evaluate the effectiveness of measures. This is discussed in detail in Annex 1 of this Plan.

Canada’s Emission Levels in 2008 and 2009 (Mt)
  2008 Emissions 2009 Emissions
Estimated “actual” emissions excluding federal government measures 734 694
Actual emissions 732 690
Emission reductions attributable to federal government actions 2 4

As “Federal Measures” emission reductions were estimated, sensitivity analysis was undertaken. This sensitivity analysis focused on the uncertainty related to the effectiveness of federal programs. The table below illustrates the impact of using alternative assumptions for the effectiveness of government programs. Using the “low” effectiveness assumption, “actual” emission reductions for the “most likely” baseline are 1 Mt in 2008 and 3 Mt in 2009. Using the “high” effectiveness assumption, “actual” emission reductions for the “most likely” baseline are 3 Mt in 2008 and 5 Mt in 2009.

Canada’s Emission Levels in 2008 and 2009 (Mt) – Sensitivity
  2008 Emissions 2009 Emissions
  Low High Low High
Estimated “actual” excluding federal government measures 733 735 693 695
Actual emissions 732 732 690 690
Emission reductions attributable to federal government actions 1 3 3 5


18  In order to more precisely comply with the spirit and intent of the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act, a “No-Federal Programs” case was developed. This case assumes that only those federal GHG reduction programs, regulations, and standards that were fully funded or implemented in 2006 are reflected. It does, however, include current provincial and territorial policies.

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