A Conference Board of Canada report notes that Canada is one of the world’s largest per capita GHG emitters, ranking 15th out of 17 OECD countries (1 being the best). The output averaged for an individual Canadian is just over 20 tonnes, in contrast to the first-ranked Swiss at around 6 tonnes per person. However, in the overall scheme of things, the Government of Canada reports that this country contributes just 1.6% of world-wide greenhouse gas emissions.
So, the argument goes, even if we do clean up all the emission, it won’t impact climate change, so why bother. It just makes us uncompetitive.
Another argument submits that Canada is in fact carbon neutral. This is based on Canada’s forests consuming as much carbon as we produce. However, climate change is impacting our forest’s health and thus its ability to consume carbon. Furthermore, there appears to be an increase in fires, which both produces carbon, and reduces the size of the store. As well, warming is thawing the permafrost, which has two effects: locked up methane is being released, and; melting water raises the water table, flooding out local forests.
May be it’s just being a good neighbour and sharing the pain.