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B.C. releases greenhouse gas numbers for 2018

monochrome photo of industrial plant
Photo by Elina Krima on Pexels.com

The province has released British Columbia’s greenhouse gas emissions numbers for 2018 as part of its annual provincial inventory.

The provincial emissions inventory is produced every year by B.C.’s Climate Action Secretariat and is based primarily on the federal government’s National Inventory Report on greenhouse gas emissions.

In 2018, net emissions in B.C. totalled 66.9 million tonnes (Mt) of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e), after including 1 Mt CO2e of carbon offsets from forest management projects. This represents a net increase of 3.5 Mt CO2e (6%) from 2007 levels, the baseline year for B.C.’s legislated emissions reduction targets, and a net increase of 2.6 Mt CO2e from 2017.

The data from 2018 do not include actions from CleanBC, the province’s climate action and clean economy plan, which was announced in December 2018. Implementation began in 2019.

Two changes from the federal government led to revisions of previous years’ emissions numbers and increased the gap between B.C.’s 2007 baseline year and 2018 numbers. First, the federal government changed how marine transport emissions are calculated. The new methodology means that B.C.’s 2007 baseline year was revised downward by 1.4 Mt CO2e from the previous emissions inventory.

In addition, gross emissions numbers, not including offsets, for 2017 were revised upward by 1.3 Mt CO2e, due to new estimates for fuel use in oil and gas extraction, heavy-duty vehicles, commercial and institutional buildings and light-duty gasoline-powered trucks.

Taken together, these two technical changes made by the federal government for previous years’ emissions were equivalent to 2.7 Mt CO2e – or more than 75% of the gap between the new 2007 emissions baseline and 2018.

Total gross emissions in 2018 also increased by 2.2 Mt CO2e from the previous year due to increases from sectors including heavy-duty diesel vehicles, oil and gas extraction, off-road industrial transport, and light-duty gasoline-powered trucks.

The province has put new requirements into law that government must present detailed annual reports to the legislature tracking progress made toward CleanBC targets. These emission numbers will form the basis of that report.

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