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Canada and Kyoto

A history of the country's involvement and its greenhouse gas emissions

Last Updated: Dec. 12, 2011


On Dec. 12, 2011, Environment Minister Peter Kent announced that Canada would pull out of the Kyoto Protocol. Select the first tab to read about Canada's history with the accord — alongside the country's greenhouse gas emissions for each year — and how Canada's per capita figures compare to the 1990 levels.

Between 1997 and 2009, the greenhouse gas emissions per capita fluctuated between an average of 22.3 and 20.3 tonnes per person. To see a chart outlining the per capita figures, select the second tab.


1997

More than 160 nations gather in Kyoto to negotiate binding limits on greenhouse gases in the developed world. The resulting agreement, the Kyoto accord, calls for a five per cent reduction from 1990 levels (590 megatonnes for Canada) by 2012.

1998

Canada signs the Kyoto Protocol, vowing to cut its greenhouse gas emitions by six per cent from its 1990 levels by 2012.

2000

The federal government brings in its "Action Plan 2000 on Climate Change," committing $500 million to measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

2001

The United States refuses to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, calling it economically irresponsible.

2002

Canada's federal government pledges to cut 240 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually.

2003

Federal spending on the Kyoto Protocol reaches $1.7 billion.

2004

In an effort to persuade Canadians to reduce their personal greenhouse gas emissions by one tonne, the federal government launches the "One Tonne Challenge."

2005

The government revamps its 2002 implementation plan, changing its target to an annual 270-million tonne cut by 2012. The revised implementation plan also relaxes targets for large industrial polluters.

2006

The Liberal Party is defeated in Canada's 2006 election; the Conservative Party forms a minority government. The Conservatives had run on scrapping Canada's Kyoto commitments, which they had long criticized as unreachable.

2007

The federal government unveils the Clean Air Act, designed to regulate industrial pollutants. Then-environment minister John Baird says Canada will not attempt to reach its Kyoto targets because it could not possibly reach them.

2008

An environmental lobby group sues the Canadian government for ignoring its Kyoto targets, which were legally binding. The lawsuit was dismissed in October of that year.

2009

Canada participates in the Conference of Parties in Copenhagen and is a signatory to the Copenhagen Accord, a non-binding agreement that calls for the continuation of the Kyoto Protocol. As part of the accord, Canada agrees to a 17 per cent reduction in greenhouse gases from its 2005 levels by 2020.

STATS:

1997

Total greenhouse gas emissions: 671 megatonnes Average greenhouse gas emissions per person: 105.3 megatonnes

1998

Total greenhouse gas emissions: 677 megatonnes Average greenhouse gas emissions per person: 105.4 megatonnes

2000

Total greenhouse gas emissions: 716 megatonnes Average greenhouse gas emissions per person: 109.5 megatonnes

2001

Total greenhouse gas emissions: 709 megatonnes Average greenhouse gas emissions per person: 107.2 megatonnes

2002

Total greenhouse gas emissions: 715 megatonnes Average greenhouse gas emissions per person: 107 megatonnes

2003

Total greenhouse gas emissions: 738 megatonnes Average greenhouse gas emissions per person: 109.3 megatonnes

2004

Total greenhouse gas emissions: 742 megatonnes Average greenhouse gas emissions per person: 108.9 megatonnes

2005

Total greenhouse gas emissions: 731 megatonnes Average greenhouse gas emissions per person: 106.2 megatonnes

2006

Total greenhouse gas emissions: 719 megatonnes Average greenhouse gas emissions per person: 103.6 megatonnes

2007

Total greenhouse gas emissions: 748 megatonnes Average greenhouse gas emissions per person: 106.6 megatonnes

2008

Total greenhouse gas emissions: 732 megatonnes Average greenhouse gas emissions per person: 103 megatonnes

2009

Total greenhouse gas emissions: 690 megatonnes Average greenhouse gas emissions per person: 96 megatonnes

 

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