The Impact of Carbon Emission in Canada

by Jason Shaw


This article seeks to explore the impact of carbon emission in Canada and how it affects the rest of the globe by causing adverse climate change. Besides, it also addresses the climate policy of the Canadian government as a way to reduce the carbon emission rate by evaluating the policy as well as considering the recommendations of the policy. The Canadian government encourages an aggressive approach towards climate change which achieves real economic and environmental benefits for all the Canadians. The climate change causes, as well as its impacts on human health and the environment, are now highly understood. Canada is definitely a vast country that has a diverse climate. This makes the effects of climate change practically the more important. 

The Canadian government supports attempts to protect their environment and of the entire globe through certain developed programs and policies, conducted scientific research as well as working closely with the provinces, territories, other government departments and international partners so as to fight against the problem climate change. The November 4, 2013 project of oil sands in Saskatchewan and Alberta are the main reason on which Canada continues to consistently increase carbon dioxide output which is in total contradiction in regard to its promises that it made at Copenhagen by 2009. This information originates from the recent Environment Canada- the National Inventory Report about the greenhouse gas sinks and sources that was submitted to UN Framework Convention about Climate Change in 2013.

The contribution of Canada to global carbon dioxide gas emissions is in overall, not that significant since it`s, in fact, amounting to a mere 2%. However, in regard to the per capita contributions, the country produces over 20 tons which is one of the highest in the globe. By the time Canada was committing itself at Copenhagen that it was to reduce its own emissions to about 17%, that was below the 2005 levels, by 2020, with United States making the same commitment, Canada had realized a decreases in their overall carbon dioxide gases from the peak of about 750 megatons by 2007 to about 690 megatons in 2009. However, since 2009 Canada’s carbon dioxide gas emissions have always trended upward. Currently, the report says that aggregate emissions of carbon dioxide gases are standing at 702 megatons.

The Impact of Carbon Emission in Canada

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Policy Evaluation and Analysis

Environmental Problem

Climate change is indeed a global problem that comes with global consequences. By 2006, temperature warmer-than-average was recorded across the globe for the period of 30th consecutive year. These consistent increases in average temperatures are undoubtedly melting polar ice caps and glaciers hence raising the sea levels. This is putting coastal areas to be at greater risk of getting flooded. Gathered evidence indicates how these changes are actually not the outcome of natural variability of the climate. The theory of climate change that is human-induced is supported by a number of respected scientific bodies, such as British Royal Society, UNEP, American National Academies as well as the IPCC-Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The IPCC, which was established by WMO-World Meteorological Organization, in conjunction with UNEP-United Nations Environment Programme, did release their 4th assessment report by 2007. The report which declared that the warming of system of the climate is unequivocal, also said that there was a very high confidence of human activity playing a significant role as far as overwhelming the atmosphere with greenhouse gas since 1750 is concerned. The IPCC is undoubtedly the globe’s foremost scientific authority in regard to subject of climate change. Its role is actually to assess on an objective, comprehensive, open and transparent basis, the technical, scientific, and socio-economic information that are relevant to explaining the scientific basis of climate change`s risk that are human-induced, its potential impacts as well as the options for mitigation and adaptation. Among the greatest concerns that are originating from climate change is undoubtedly the anticipated increase in globe`s frequency of extreme and adverse weather events. The ice storm which had struck the eastern Canada in 1998 evidenced the magnitude of a potential effect of these events.

A part from extreme weather events, certain other changes that are associated with the climate change are a bit gradual. Rivers and Lakes generally freeze later as well as thaw earlier than expected. This causes unwarranted difficulties in maintaining and building the ice roads which are important for a number of northern communities. For the past ten years, Canadian ice road network usage has gone down from 50 to 60 to a very lower figure of 20 days within some few years. A sequence of mild winters within the central interior of British Columbia province has encouraged the spread of the stubborn mountain pine beetle. This is a very serious and destructive forest pest that has resulted into the death of several pine trees within millions of hectares of the forests.

Evaluation of the Policy

The Canadian government should do far more to reduce and control carbon emissions that, while declining south of the border, have increased in recent years. An opportunity to rub it in was seen as Barack Obama, the American president, recently warned that he would not give his permission to the Keystone XL pipeline that was to deliver oil from Alberta’s tar sands to Texas until Canada develops and imposes environmental policies. Ironically, the United States itself may learn one or two insights from BC on climate policy (British Columbia).

The Canadian government became the pioneer of the North American jurisdiction’s carbon tax in 2008. When it had grown sharply, this environmental strategy was adopted to further regulate the amount of carbon dioxide pollution into the atmosphere. A recent research has found that the tax on this policy measure has culminated in a huge decrease in fossil fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions to the detriment of the Canadian economy. In comparison, as it prompted the regional government to slash corporate and personal tax rates, the carbon tax program induced the people of British Colombia to be lovely. Stewart Elgie, who is an economic lecturer at the University of Ottawa and the lead author of this report, refers to it as a rare win-win. The carbon tax introduced on nearly all fuels of fossil origin was explicitly intended to help British Colombia reach its own self-imposed goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by about 33% by 2020, which is below 2007 levels. It should be remembered that the federal goal of Canada, like that of the United States, is to limit carbon dioxide pollution by the year 2020 to 17%, a number below 2005 levels. For a tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent, the carbon tax was originally set at C$10, but it increased every year before it surpassed the C$30 level for a ton in 2012. The carbon tax protects nearly 77% of the greenhouse gas pollution from manufacturing, commercial and residential sources in British Colombia.

This accounts for 7 cents of a liter of gas-charged by Vancouverites for C$1.46

The carbon tax system has been nothing less than a smashing success as a means of lowering pollution. According to a survey prior to 2008, both the typical Canadian and British Columbian used the same gasoline standard. By 2012, fuel consumption per citizen had decreased in British Colombian by 17.4 percent, despite increasing by 1.5 percent among the rest of the Canadian country. However, relative to every other province, the province actually consumes fewer petrol per head. From 2008 to 2011, total carbon pollution also plummeted by 10 percent. Over the same time, British Colombia’s usage of carbon-exempt aviation fuel stagnated in line with that of the majority of the other provinces. The condition that triggered the change in fuel usage can be entirely traced to the carbon tax as a program of reduction and not any other aspect.

Importantly, as expected by environmental policy critics, the levy may not appear to have affected the vulnerable, families, and industries. In reality, Canada’s economic growth, while barely stellar, saw an improvement in production per person in the period from 2008 to 2011. This was certainly slightly less miserable at the point than the rest of the world. Economists credit this benign effect to the revenue-neutral nature of the carbon tax, where each dollar earned was to be channeled back through tax cuts, allowing time to adapt to individuals and firms. Amazingly, in 2011 and 2012 alone, the resultant tax cuts contributed to C$ 1.14 billion. It was C$182 million more than the collected carbon tax. For persons making up to C$119,000, Canada actually has one of the lowest personal income tax rates.

There is little question that a significant challenge to Canada’s green record is the nascent natural-gas bonanza. A new ministry, though, was set up to comply with plans for the building of gas pipelines to transport natural gas from north-eastern British Colombia to ports on the northwest coast. It would then be refined into LNG-liquid natural gas here, following which it would be exported to lucrative Asian markets. However, it consumes a lot of electricity to turn natural gas into LNG, but there is not enough hydroelectric capacity to achieve this. As a consequence, conversion plants probably ought to burn fossil-fuel natural gas. The combustion of this fossil fuel is also mostly controlled by the carbon tax which was essentially formulated by the Canadian government to further maintain a sustainable atmosphere in accordance with the Copenhagen Agreement. Officials of the Canadian government bravely claim that, despite LNG ventures having a detrimental influence on Canada’s greenhouse production, the introduction of the carbon tax as an environmental strategy will be considerably offset.

Policy Recommendations

The carbon policy has recognized the urgent need to rethink policies of environmental concern along regulatory lines. The policy recommendations to the government to consider expanding and increasing its carbon tax and if necessary to remain on track with a more aggressive target of curbing greenhouse-gas emissions. The policy had called upon the government to implement “legally mandated” carbon emission-reduction targets by 2008 for the period of 2012 and 2016. The legally mandate was partly an interim targets geared towards the goal of Premier Gordon Campbell which was a 33% reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions by the year 2020.

The policy also recommends to the province to engage residents in an active public discussions, symposia, and summit meetings as part of a public campaign to educate the Canadian citizen about the importance of policies which are relevant to addressing climate change. Moreover, the carbon policy recommended to the Canadian government to explore ways in which federal regulations can harmoniously co-exist with the diverse provincial regulatory actions and carbon pricing as well as ways in which Canada can accomplish coherent national mitigation framework regarding carbon emission. To accomplish these objectives, the policy recommended that leading thinkers on mitigation framework of policy be convened as well as usage of analytics to avail public information regarding policy choices besides communicating key findings so as to equip the Canadian mitigation policy makers with information.

The policy further recommends that Canada borrow from the Implementation of Carbon Pricing Mechanism of Australia. The authority of Canada to examine a short briefing together with some comment concerning what was experience by Australian on carbon pricing so as offer for Canadian policy-makers and industry relevant experience needed to successfully implement the carbon policy. As the government Canada soldiers on with their sector-by-sector regulation of carbon gases, individual provinces need also to continue implementing and strengthen the sub-national pricing mitigation and regulatory policies. The Australian experience was also to provide the desired valuable insight and therefore offer a “parallel universe” in which the Canada government can compare its approach regarding climate change. Tony Beck, who is an expert of Australian carbon markets, had scrutinized the rollout of carbon pricing scheme of Australia, and the effects of implementation on sub-national and national governments as well as the private sector.

As part of the policy recommendation, the Canadian government was advised to examine compliance requirements of different gas and oil sub-sectors under the umbrella of a national regulatory system. The government determines that the compliance flexibility will be needed for the sector to adhere with compliance requirements. The policy advocated the usage of existence of models, for instance the Alberta, Specified Gas Emitter Regulations, which can present a good starting point for federal government to exploit while developing flexibility in the national regulatory approach.

Canada`s provinces were advised to undertaken a review of their current tax structure so as to enable the carbon tax to be an efficient and effective policy which is destined to reduce emissions as well as promoting low-carbon development. The Canada`s government was also tasked with the responsibility to help curb emerging challenges that continue to hinder the policy success and that they need to offer support to help maintain the carbon policy at its current rate while providing ways in which Canadian provinces can strengthen their provincial greenhouse gas emission mitigation policy.

Summary and Conclusions

In summary this article is about carbon emission in Canada and how it globally affects the environment through climate change. The article explore various environmental problems that are today facing the world and Canada`s government. These environmental problems includes: Overall mean annual temperatures are anticipated to increase, global warming resulting to a decreased snow, glacier coverage, sea ice melting hence rising sea levels that cause increased coastal flooding. The increased temperatures will moreover, thaw permafrost in Arctic.

  The article on Reality Check, 2012 talks about the Canadian carbon policy which was practically formulated to help curb the increasing greenhouse gas emission in Canada. This article evaluates and analyzes the carbon policy by examining its intended purpose and how practically works on the ground. The recommendation of the carbon policy also forms the basis in which this article is written. It explores various recommendations that were made to the government of Canada as a way to strengthen and successfully implement the policy. Despite the Canada province’s carbon tax levied on fuels such as natural gas, gasoline, and other energy sources of fossil-fuel-based origin being anticipated to be ill-received and controversial since it was introduced in July 1, the government of Canada says the urgency with which its objective is to be met-cutting down the greenhouse gas emissions which is responsible for climate change, warrants the policy. The Canadian government further justifies it choice to stick to its carbon policy saying that it will be offset by equivalent reductions in corporate, personal, and small business tax rates.

Work Cited:
  • ‘Carbon Cartel’: Canada, Australia Blasted for Fueling Climate Crisis. Common dreams,
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  • Factbox: Carbon taxes around the world. SBS, 2013.print
  • Hoffmann, Peter. Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Letter. Hyattsville, MD: Peter Hoffmann, 1995. Print.
  • Parallel Paths: Canada-u.s. Climate Policy Choices : Outreach Report. Ottawa: National Round
  • Table on the Environment and the Economy, 2011. Print.
  • Reality Check: The State of Climate Progress in Canada. Ottawa: National Round Table on the
  • Environment and the Economy, 2012. Internet resource.[/sociallocker]

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