Quantification of Canada’s total carbon dioxide emissions from exported fossil fuels

Petition: 390

Issue(s): Climate change, governance, natural resources

Petitioner(s): Canadian organization

Petitioner Location(s): Calgary, Alberta and Vancouver, British Columbia

Date Received: 19 February 2016

Status: Completed—Response(s) to petition received

Summary: The petition inquires about Canada’s exported fossil fuels from 2012 to 2015 and the aggregate amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the combustion of these fossil fuels.

The petition states that Canada’s total domestic CO2 emissions exceeded 565 megatonnes in 2013, but this number allegedly does not present the full picture of Canada’s contribution to the global rise of atmospheric CO2. The petition points out that Canada exports a large quantity of fossil fuels every year, and that while these exported fossil fuels are not directly burned inside the country, they represent a massive outflow of planet-warming carbon.

In addition, the petition states that, with the recent Paris Agreement, Canada pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. The Paris Agreement recognizes the need for parties to conserve and enhance sinks and reservoirs of greenhouse gases. According to the petition, Canada’s obligation to preserve greenhouse gas reservoirs must consider the greenhouse gases stored in the country’s vast reservoirs of coal, oil, and natural gas.

The petition indicates that there is no official government inventory of CO2 emissions from Canada’s exported fossil fuels, and it requests a quantification of the carbon footprint of these fossil fuels. It asks whether the Government of Canada has any accounting, inventory, or other assessment of the CO2 emissions from their combustion. It also asks, among other things, what the aggregate amounts were for exported fossil fuels (coal, oil, natural gas, and natural gas liquids) from 2012 to 2015 and how these fossil fuels were transported out of the country (by rail, pipeline, or ocean vessel).

Federal departments responsible for reply: Environment and Climate Change Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Transport Canada