OTTAWA, April 11, 2012 (AFP) - Canada's greenhouse gas emissions fell steadily from a peak in 2007 to 692 megatons in 2010, but remain far above its original target, according to government data released Wednesday.
The National Inventory Report showed reductions in most sectors, including the oil and gas industry, amounting to a total 6.5 percent cut from 2005 levels while the economy grew. Also, Canadian per capita emissions of the gases blamed for damaging Earth's fragile climate system remained at an historic low of 20.3 tons of carbon dioxide. But Canada had agreed to much deeper cuts in CO2 emissions under the Kyoto Protocol, before it withdrew from the 1997 landmark treaty on global warming in December. "Today's news demonstrates that our work to balance the need for a cleaner and healthier environment while protecting jobs and growth is working," Environment Minister Peter Kent said in a statement.
Under the Kyoto Protocol, Canada had agreed to cut C02 emissions 6.0 percent below 1990 levels by 2012. But emissions increased 17.5 percent above 1990 levels. Saying the target agreed to by a previous Liberal administration was unattainable, Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government in 2010 unveiled its own measures aimed at curbing emissions, in line with US efforts. Canada is now aiming for a new target of 607 megatons of carbon dioxide equivalent of total greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2020.
From 2009 to 2010, total emissions remained relatively steady. Waste and agriculture sectors saw slight increases from 2007, while others fell. Alberta and Ontario provinces, where Canada's oil sands and manufacturing base are located, respectively, produced the most emissions, followed by Quebec, Saskatchewan and British Columbia.