Canada – The Climate Pawn

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From Friends of Science Calgary


Contributed by Robert Lyman © 2023. Robert Lyman’s bio can be read here.


The campaign to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is sometimes presented as a global undertaking in which Canada is “allied” with all other countries. Allegedly, we must not shirk our duty to our allies. This view rests upon a mistaken understanding of past and present trends in global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

From 1992 to 2014, the countries participating in international climate conferences set a series of increasingly stringent emissions reduction targets. With few exceptions, no country met the targets. In 2015, in Paris, the parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change agreed instead to adopt a global goal of restraining the growth in emissions so as to avoid an increase of more than 2 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels by 2100, with the aspirational goal of restraining temperature increases to less than 1.5 degrees C. In 2018 and after, influenced by the European Union, countries began to set political targets with the objective of attaining “net-zero” emissions by 2050 for developed countries and 2070 for developing countries.

Despite these agreements, global GHG emissions rose by almost 60% from 1990 to 2019.

The OECD countries reduced their emissions slightly, but the non-OECD countries did not. By 2019, emissions in the non-OECD accounted for two-thirds of the emissions and all of the growth.

This article examines the trends in the ten non-OECD countries that by 2021 accounted for about 55% of global emissions: China, India, Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, South Africa, Brazil, Vietnam and Thailand. Carbon Action Tracker is an organization of climate activists that closely monitors the targets that countries set for themselves and the progress, if any, they make towards the net-zero goal.

According to Carbon Action Tracker, no country in the world is “1.5 degrees C. Paris Agreement compatible”. Six countries are rated “almost sufficient”: the United Kingdom, Norway, Denmark, Nepal, Ethiopia, Morocco and Nigeria. The ratings for the 10 largest non-OECD countries are also revealing. China, India, Saudi Arabia, and Indonesia are rated “highly insufficient” and Russia, Iran and Vietnam are rated “critically insufficient”. Only South Africa and Brazil are rated “sufficient”.

Further, if every one of these countries met the targets that they have set for themselves in the emissions plans submitted to the United Nations, in every case but one (Brazil), their emissions by 2030 would be higher than they were in 2010. It is unlikely that they will even meet their own commitments.

Despite immense promotion and propaganda, the countries of the world are not on track to meet the net-zero goals. There is no global climate campaign, and Canada could not influence its outcome either way if there were.

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