Spectra Energy natural gas processing plant near Fort Nelson, one of B.C.’s largest single sources of greenhouse gases. Fuel use for road transportation is the largest source. (Black Press files)

B.C. greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase

Petroleum, road transport improved efficiency in 2017

B.C.’s greenhouse gas emissions increased again in 2017, despite reduced carbon dioxide intensity from key sources including oil and gas refining and road transportation.

The B.C. environment ministry released its latest data Monday, reporting a 1.7 per cent increase over 2016 in carbon dioxide equivalent emissions. After accounting for one million tonnes of carbon offsets from forest management projects, net emissions were calculated at 64.5 million tonnes for the year.

The environment ministry reports that emissions were reduced in oil and gas extraction, road transport, electricity and heat production. Sectors with increases included manufacturing, off-road transport, residential and agriculture.

B.C.’s strong economy and increasing population work against reductions in greenhouse gas intensity, with 251 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent produced for every million dollars of gross domestic product in 2017. That’s a reduction of 2.5 per cent in intensity, showing improved efficiency.

Evironment Minister George Heyman said the government’s CleanBC measures, requiring less carbon-intensive fuels and increasing building efficiency and electric vehicle use, were not in place to influence the 2017 data.

That was the year that the NDP government replaced the former B.C. Liberal government, which had gone five years without increasing the province’s carbon tax, which could also have improved B.C.’s results, Heyman said.

RELATED: B.C. carbon tax increases to $40 per tonne for 2019

RELATED: B.C. carbon tax revenues go toward home upgrades

The official B.C. total does not include the effect of a record year for area burned by wildfires in 2017. The provincial data show wildfire emissions for the year of 176,550 tonnes, almost three times total emissions from the officially measured sources. For 2016, the wildfire emissions were 12,500 tonnes.

Heyman said B.C.’s carbon tax measurement conforms to international standards, which do not include measuring forest fire activity because it is beyond human control.

B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver said the province’s CleanBC plan, which he developed along with Premier John Horgan, is having an effect, but it’s not enough.

“Our individual carbon footprint per British Columbian barely comes in under our neighbours to the south, by a measly 12 per cent,” Weaver said. “These numbers show us that we are not the concerned environmental stewards that we think we are, and it is because we have had governments that fail to regulate industry and fail to implement a vision for a new, green economy rooted in sustainable practices.”


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislature

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kicking Horse conditions update, Wednesday February 19

Kicking Horse reports no new snow in the last 24 hours. The… Continue reading

Golden highway update, Wednesday February 19

DriveBC reports slippery sections along Highway 1 just west of Golden, between… Continue reading

Golden Dollar Store celebrates 20 years

Opening its doors in December 1993, the store will spend 2020 celebrating 20 years of business

Kicking Horse Update, Tuesday February 18

Kicking Horse reports no new snow in the last 24 hours. The… Continue reading

Golden Highway Update, Tuesday February 18

When travelling along Highway 1 this morning, watch for slippery sections between… Continue reading

Pipeline dispute: Tories put no-confidence motion on House of Commons agenda

Conservatives say they have no confidence in the Trudeau government to end the rail blockades

Galchenyuk nets shootout winner as Wild edge Canucks 4-3

Vancouver tied with Calgary for second spot in NHL’s Pacific Division

B.C.’s soda drink tax will help kids lose weight, improve health, says doctor

Dr. Tom Warshawski says studies show sugary drinks contribute to obesity

A&W employees in Ladysmith get all-inclusive vacation for 10 years of service

Kelly Frenchy, Katherine Aleck, and Muriel Jack are headed on all-expenses-paid vacations

B.C. mom’s complaint about ‘R word’ in children’s ministry email sparks review

In 2020, the ‘R’ word shouldn’t be used, Sue Robins says

B.C., federal ministers plead for meeting Wet’suwet’en dissidents

Scott Fraser, Carolyn Bennett says they can be in Smithers Thursday

Province shows no interest in proposed highway between Alberta and B.C.

Province says it will instead focus on expanding the Kicking Horse Canyon to four lanes

First case of COVID-19 in B.C. has fully recovered, health officer says

Three other cases are symptom-free and expected to test negative soon

Budget 2020: Weaver ‘delighted,’ minority B.C. NDP stable

Project spending soars along with B.C.’s capital debt

Most Read