Historical emissions data were obtained from the UNFCCC GHG inventory and cover the period to 2018 (Government of Canada, 2020a).
NDC and other targets
For the 2020 target, we calculated the target by excluding LULUCF in the base year (2005) before applying the 17% reduction target and then subtracted projected LULUCF accounting contributions for 2020 from the government’s most recent projections (Environment and Climate Change Canada, 2020a).
For the 2030 target, we follow a parallel approach, in which we calculated the target by excluding LULUCF in the base year (2005) before applying the 30% decrease and then subtracted projected LULUCF accounting contributions for 2030 from the government’s most recent projections (Environment and Climate Change Canada, 2020a).
In its 2018 projections, Canada had provided a range of LULUCF contributions for these targets depending on whether harvest levels were high or low (Environment and Climate Change Canada, 2018a). In its latest assessment, Canada only provided one value for each target year, hence why we no longer show the Canadian targets as ranges.
Current policy projections
The pre-COVID-19 current policy projections from 2019 to 2030 were obtained from the greenhouse gas emission projections updated annually by the Government of Canada which were harmonised to historical data, as the CAT used the most recent inventory (with 2018 data) and the projections are based on historical data to 2017 (Environment and Climate Change Canada, 2020a). The report presents projections considering future impacts of policy measures enacted as of September 2019 (for details of the policies included, see Table A2.39: Environment and Climate Change Canada, 2020a).
In our September 2019 assessment, the CAT assessed the policies contained in the ‘Reference Case’ under two sets of assumptions: slow growth/low emissions and fast growth/high emissions, reflecting different assumptions about oil and gas prices and GDP growth rate, and displayed the complete range. Given the uncertainties created by COVID-19, we no longer consider the fast GDP/high world oil prices to be a likely future. In this analysis, we show the pre-COVID policy range as the Reference case only. In September 2019, the current policy range was 630-763 MtCO2e in 2030, with the Reference Case at 707 MtCO2e. The equivalent range would have been 602-742 MtCO2e in 2030 and the Reference Case is 679 MtCO2e.
We applied a novel method to estimate the COVID-19 related dip in greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 and the emissions pathway to 2030. The uncertainty surrounding the severity and length of the pandemic creates a new level of uncertainty for current and future greenhouse gas emissions. We first updated the current policy projections using the most recent projections from the government and latest historic data (as outlined above). We then analysed the potential impact on emissions using GDP data as proxies for estimating emission reductions. We used estimates from the OECD single and double hit scenarios and the IMF to provide a range of GDP estimates for 2020 and 2021 (IMF, 2020; OECD, 2020b, 2020a). We used the GDP growth rates from the government’s pre-COVID-19 policy projections to complete our GDP estimates for 2022-2030. We then calculated the emissions associated with these GDP projections using the emissions intensity of the pre-COVID-19 policy projections.
Our results fall within the range of the government’s pre-COVID-19 sensitivity analysis for slow GDP growth and low oil prices (Environment and Climate Change Canada, 2020a).
Planned policy projections
The pre-COVID-19 planned policy projections from 2019 to 2030 are based on Environment and Climate Change Canada’s “Additional Measures” Case (Environment and Climate Change Canada, 2020a). As with the pre-COVID-19 current policy projections, these figures are harmonised to historical data. This scenario includes the Clean Fuel Standard, revisions to building codes for new and existing buildings, and the extension of light duty vehicle standards for post-2025 model years (For details of the policies included, see Table A2.39: Environment and Climate Change Canada, 2020a). It also includes 13 MtCO2e of credits from the Western Climate Initiative in 2030.
To develop the post-COVID planned policy projections, we applied the GDP method as described above.
Global warming potentials
The CAT uses Global Warming Potential (GWP) values from the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) for all figures and time series. Assessments completed prior to December 2018 (COP24) used GWP values from the IPCC’s Second Assessment Report (SAR).