Provincial Inventory frequently asked questions

The British Columbia Provincial Inventory of Greenhouse Gas Emissions 1990-2021 (XLSX, 317KB) lists province-wide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and removals for the 1990 to 2021 calendar years, broken down by internationally defined emissions activity categories (fuel combustion, industrial process, etc.), by the economic sectors that produce them, and by types of GHGs.

The inventory covers all the emissions included in the Province’s legislated GHG emissions reduction targets. The inventory also includes, for information purposes only, emissions from changes in other land use and forest management. In accordance with standard international practices, these land use and forest management emissions are excluded from emissions reduction targets because they are largely outside of human control.

The Provincial Inventory Methodology Report (PDF, 509KB) is released annually along with the Provincial Inventory (XLSX, 317KB). It provides a description of the scope of each inventory line item and a summary of the methods and data sources used in preparing the Provincial Inventory. As the Provincial Inventory data comes from Canada’s National Inventory Report, the Methodology Report gives specific references to the relevant sections of the National Inventory Report for more in-depth methodology information.

The Provincial Inventory Method Changes and Exceptions Table (PDF, 164KB) is released annually along with the Provincial Inventory (XLSX, 317KB).

The Provincial Inventory is based on the National Inventory Report produced annually by the federal government as Canada's official national greenhouse gas inventory. B.C. may use different values from those in the National Inventory Report if better B.C.-specific data is available for a particular line item. The Method Changes and Exceptions Table tracks these differences and also records any temporary deviations from the usual methods described in the Methodology Report (PDF, 509KB)

Year-to-year changes to the methods used to produce the National Inventory Report are not tracked in the Method Changes and Exceptions Table; they are documented in the National Inventory Report itself. For the Provincial Inventory 1990-2021, the Provincial Inventory Method Changes and Exceptions Table is blank because all data is based on the National Inventory Report.

The Provincial Inventory is based on data from the National Inventory Report (NIR), published by Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC). Each NIR includes emissions data that is about two years old because ECCC currently uses that time to collect and compute all the necessary data to produce the inventory so the 2023 NIR, used for 1990-2021 Provincial Inventory (XLSX, 317KB), reports emissions data for 1990-2021.

Since the first Provincial Inventory, covering 1990-2007, B.C. has published the inventory as an accessible table with little change to its format.

However, since the 1990-2014 Provincial Inventory, supporting data, such as emission factors and demographic/economic indicators, is no longer compiled and published with the inventory. An updated Methodology Report (PDF, 509KB) continues to be published annually and describes where the data originates and how emissions are calcualated.

The 1990-2018 Provincial Inventory, published in April 2020, was the first to break emissions down by economic sectors as well as by internationally defined activity categories, and was the first to break down emissions by GHG type for all covered years rather than just the latest year.

In 2022, B.C. started publishing projections of future emissions in the Provincial Forecast, as a companion to the Provincial Inventory.


Does the 1990-2021 Provincial Inventory include any changes to the 2007 baseline?

The 1990-2021 Provincial Inventory (XLSX, 317KB) includes updates to the 2007 baseline due to back-casting methodology and data improvements. This means any new or improved methods or data sources are applied not only to the latest year, but also to all prior years as applicable. This ensures data is comparable over time within each inventory.

The 1990-2020 Provincial Inventory reported 2007 GHG emissions at 65.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e), but in the 1990-2021 inventory, that figure was revised downwards to 63.8 MtCO2e. The changes are due to methodology improvements in several categories. The 2007 emissions will be revised again in future years to address further improvements in GHG inventory methods as they occur.


What implications do back-casting methodology improvements have on the CleanBC modelling results?

B.C.’s CleanBC modelling, published annually in the Provincial Forecast, is updated every year to reflect data in the latest Provincial Inventory (XLSX, 317KB) including any changes from back-casted improvements. While methodology improvements typically result in relatively minor changes to past emissions data, the emissions reductions projected to be achieved by CleanBC could change as a result.

Updated emissions projections may lead to further evaluation and refinement of current CleanBC programs and policies as well as those still in development.

Updated modelling is summarized each year in the Climate Change Accountability Report tabled in the Legislature.

B.C.’s methodology is summarized in the Provincial Inventory Methodology Report (PDF, 509KB). The GHG estimates are taken from the National Inventory Report 1990-2021: Greenhouse Gas Sources and Sinks in Canada, which contains detailed descriptions of the inventory's data sources.


Why does some of the B.C. emissions data in the Provincial Inventory differ from the B.C. data in the National Inventory Report?

The Provincial Inventory (XLSX, 317KB) includes GHG estimates for land-use change (primarily deforestation and afforestation). These are included in the National Inventory Report at the national level as part of land use, land-use change, and forestry, but not reported at the provincial level in the National Inventory Report.

Any other differences are documented each year in the Provincial Inventory Methodology Report (PDF, 509KB) and the Provincial Inventory Method Changes and Exceptions Table (PDF, 164KB), but there are none in the 1990-2021 Provincial Inventory.

Environment and Climate Change Canada sends the Climate Action Secretariat preliminary inventory data and methodology descriptions to review and cross-check before the National Inventory Report is finalized and published. Climate Action Secretariat staff work with Environment and Climate Change Canada and other federal departments and agencies to ensure that emissions estimates are as accurate as possible before they are included in the Provincial Inventory (XLSX, 317KB).

These emissions are not reported in the National Inventory Report or in the Provincial Inventory (XLSX, 317KB) in accordance with international guidelines compiled by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and adopted by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Emissions from air and marine travel originating in B.C. and ending within Canada are included in the Provincial Inventory.

These emissions are not reported in the Provincial Inventory (XLSX, 317KB) since they occur outside of the province. In accordance with international guidelines compiled by the IPCC and adopted by the UNFCCC, these emissions sources are reported in the jurisdiction in which the electricity is generated.

Memo items are line items presented in the Provincial Inventory (XLSX, 317KB) for information and transparency purposes. They are not included in the provincial GHG emissions total because they represent emissions due to natural causes that are largely outside of human control.

These emissions categories are presented as memo items and are not counted towards the provincial total because the majority of emissions in those categories are due to natural causes largely outside of human control (such as wildfires and pests). If they were included in the provincial total, their extreme annual volatility would hamper the visibility of trends in emissions within human control. Environment and Climate Change Canada does not include these emissions in national totals either.


Why are land-use change (for example, afforestation and deforestation) emissions included in the provincial emissions total?

Land-use change emissions, which include afforestation and deforestation emissions, are included in the Provincial Inventory (XLSX, 317KB) because there is greater direct human control over these emissions than over other land-use source emissions.

The Provincial Inventory (XLSX, 317KB) provides a comprehensive picture of province-wide GHG emissions. Other reporting initiatives provide different information on a specific subset of those emissions to address specific objectives, such as industrial GHG emissions reporting undertaken under the Greenhouse Gas Industrial Reporting and Control Act. These sources of data are considered for comparative purposes when compiling the Provincial Inventory, but may not contain additional information useful for the inventory or may not be compatible because of differences in categorization or methodology. No B.C. industrial reporting GHG data is currently used as an input to the Provincial Inventory.