How Canada’s climate plan compares to other G20 members


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Facts about Climate Transparency's 2019 report card on Canada's efforts.

OTTAWA — Some quick facts about Climate Transparency’s 2019 report card on Canada’s climate plan as part of its annual report card on G20 climate action.

Canada’s emissions picture within the G20

• Canada’s per-capita emissions in 2016 were 18.9 tonnes per person, compared with a G20 average of 7.5 tonnes per person. (For comparison purposes, the average passenger car produces about 4.5 tonnes of emissions each year).

• The lowest per-capita emissions in the G20 were in India, at 1.9 tonnes, and the highest in Australia, at 21.8 tonnes.


• Almost one-third of Canada’s emissions come from transportation, and per-capita emissions from transport are the second-highest in the G20. Canada’s emissions from transportation are also rising while they are falling in the G20 as a whole.

• Buildings produced 13% of Canada’s emissions, and Canada has no national strategy to reduce emissions from existing buildings. Building emissions in Canada are twice the G20 average, but while the G20 average has gotten slightly worse in the last five years, Canada has cut its emissions from buildings almost 10 per cent.

• Canada is among the three least likely countries within the G20 to hit its existing 2030 emissions-reductions targets, goals the report says are already less than half of where Canada needs to go.

Energy use

• Canada’s energy supply per capita is the highest within the G20, and has gone up in the last five years faster than the G20 average. Overall Canada’s primary energy supply – everything from oil and gas to wind, solar and hydroelectric power – is almost 3.5 times the G20 average.

• Canada’s economy is the third-most energy intensive within the G20, meaning only two countries need more energy for every $1 of economic activity.

The good

• Canada’s national price on pollution implemented in April 2019. Canada is now one of 18 G20 nations that either have some kind of carbon price or are implementing one. Only Australia and India have no plans for any kind of carbon-pricing scheme.

• Canada’s new energy regulator system, enacted earlier this year, which introduced new oversight for the energy industry and a more stringent assessment process for major projects like pipelines and mines.

• Canada’s electricity supply is already cleaner than most G20 nations’, with 66% of electricity coming from renewable sources. That includes 58% from hydroelectricity and the rest from solar, wind and biomass. The G20 average is 25% of electricity coming from renewables.

The bad

• 16,000 people die in G20 nations each year from extreme weather. In Canada, on average, 11 people die each year from extreme weather and more than 5,000 from air pollution. India, with nearly 3,700 deaths a year, and Russia, with almost 3,000, have the most deaths from extreme weather.

• The average cost to Canada from extreme weather each year is about US$1.7 billion. Across the G20 extreme weather costs $142 billion a year.

• If the G20 nations don’t drastically cut emissions more than they currently intend, global warming will exceed 3 degrees C by the end of this century, twice the increase scientists say is the threshold to prevent catastrophic climate change.

• At 3 degrees C, Canada becomes far more likely to experience water shortages and drought, and there is a high likelihood of frequent heat waves and days above 35 degrees C. There will be a high impact on corn, soybean and wheat crops at 3 degrees C, while the impact on those crops at 1.5 degrees C is considered to be low.

Key recommendations for Canada

• Canada’s current emissions target for 2030 is to get to about 511 million tonnes of carbon dioxide and its equivalents. Climate Transparency says for Canada to pull its weight, based on how much it contributed to global emissions over the past century, that target needs to fall to closer to 327 million tonnes. That is less than half of the 716 million tonnes Canada emitted in 2017, the most recent year for which data is available.

• Canada needs to adopt a clean fuel standard. The federal Liberals are working on one but it won’t be implemented for liquid fuels until 2022 and for gaseous fuels until 2023.

• Provinces need to be encouraged to do massive energy retrofits of existing buildings to reduce energy consumption.



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