Provincial Inventory - Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Provincial Inventory?
The British Columbia Provincial Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory lists province-wide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and removals for the 1990 to 2018 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 greenhouse gas. The inventory covers all the emissions included in the Province’s legislated GHG emissions reduction targets. It also includes emissions from changes in land use and forest management, which are excluded from emissions reduction targets because they are largely outside of human control, as memo items for information purposes only.

What is the Provincial Inventory Methodology Book?
The Provincial Inventory Methodology Book is released annually along with the Provincial Inventory. It provides a description of the scope of each inventory line item and a summary of the methodologies and data sources used in preparing the Provincial Inventory. As most of the Provincial Inventory data comes from Canada’s National Inventory Report, the Methodology Book gives specific references to the relevant sections of the National Inventory Report for more in-depth methodology information.

What is the Provincial Inventory Method Changes and Exceptions Table?
The Provincial Inventory Method Changes and Exceptions Table is released annually along with the Provincial Inventory. The Provincial Inventory is based on the National Inventory Report produced by the federal government but sometimes B.C. uses different values from those in the National Inventory Report for a particular line item if better B.C.-specific data is available. The Method Changes and Exceptions Table tracks these differences and also records any temporary deviations from the usual methodologies described in the Methodology Book. It does not track year-to-year changes to the methodologies used to produce the National Inventory Report, which are documented in the National Inventory Report itself.

How is the 1990-2018 Provincial Inventory format different from that of previous years?
Since the first Provincial Inventory, covering 1990-2007, B.C. has published the inventory in an accessible table format, which has changed very little. 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, and an annually updated Methodology Book is published instead of an inventory report every two years. The 1990-2018 Provincial Inventory is the first to break emissions down by economic sectors as well as by internationally defined activity categories, and is the first to break down emissions by greenhouse gas type for all covered years rather than just the latest year.

Does the 1990-2018 Provincial Inventory include any change to the 2007 baseline?
The 1990-2018 Provincial Inventory includes updates to the 2007 baseline due to back-casting, a process through which any new or improved methodologies or data sources are applied not only to the latest year, but also to all prior years as applicable. This ensures the comparability of data over time within each inventory, and most revisions are small. The 1990-2017 Provincial Inventory reported 2007 GHG emissions at 64.8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e); in the 1990-2018 inventory, that figure has been revised to 63.4 MtCO2e. This revision is greater than usual and is mostly due to a methodology change that allows shipping emissions to be more accurately categorized as either within Canada (included in the inventory) or international (excluded in accordance with internationally accepted emissions accounting principles). The 2007 emissions will be revised again in future years to address further improvements in GHG inventory methods as they occur.

What implications does back-casting Provincial Inventory methodology improvements have on the CleanBC modelling results?
B.C.’s CleanBC modelling is updated every year to reflect the latest Provincial Inventory, 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 each policy in 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. B.C. publishes the updated modelling each year as part of the annual Climate Change Accountability Report to be tabled in the legislature.

What is the source for GHG estimates in the Provincial Inventory?
B.C.’s methodology is summarized in the Provincial Inventory Methodology Book. The GHG estimates are taken from the National Inventory Report 1990-2018: Greenhouse Gas Sources and Sinks in Canada, which contains detailed descriptions of the data sources used for each line item in the inventory.

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 includes GHG estimates for net deforestation categories, which are estimated in the National Inventory Report at the national level but not included at the provincial level. B.C. includes these emissions in its total. This and any other differences are documented each year in the Provincial Inventory Methodology Book and the Method Changes and Exceptions Table. In the 1990-2018 emissions data, there are no other differences between B.C.'s provincial inventory and the National Inventory Report.

How does the Climate Action Secretariat work with Environment and Climate Change Canada and other federal agencies on GHG estimates?
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 agencies to ensure that emissions estimates are as accurate as possible before they are included in the Provincial Inventory.

How does the Climate Action Secretariat work with other provincial ministries on the annual Provincial Inventory?
Climate Action Secretariat staff work closely with other B.C. ministries throughout the year to ensure that information contained in the Provincial Inventory is as accurate as possible and consistent with other government data.

Are international air and marine travel emissions reported?
These emissions are not reported in the National Inventory Report or in the Provincial Inventory in accordance with international guidelines compiled by the IPCC and adopted by the UNFCCC. Emissions from air and marine travel originating in B.C. and ending within Canada are included in the Provincial Inventory.

Why are B.C. thermal electricity imports not included in the reported provincial emissions?
These emissions are not reported in the Provincial Inventory 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.

What are memo items?
Memo items are line items presented in the Provincial Inventory for information and transparency purposes but not included in the provincial GHG emissions total, because they represent emissions due to natural causes largely outside of human control.

Why are unconverted forestland, wetland, cropland, and settlement emissions not included in the provincial emissions total?
These emissions categories are presented as memo items and are not counted towards the provincial total because they 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 afforestation and deforestation emissions included in the provincial emissions total?
Afforestation and deforestation emissions are included because there is greater direct human control over them than over other land-use sources. B.C. indicated in its 2008 Climate Action Plan that actions to address forest-related emissions were an important part of reaching the Province’s GHG emissions reduction targets. Including afforestation and deforestation emissions in the total makes it easier for these actions to be counted.

How does the Provincial Inventory relate to other B.C. government initiatives involving GHG emissions data such as reporting under the Greenhouse Gas Emission Reporting Regulation?
The Provincial Inventory 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 sources of data are considered in compiling the Provincial Inventory for comparative purposes, but may not contain additional information useful for the inventory or may not be compatible because of differences in categorization, etc.