Provincial Greenhouse Gas Emissions - Frequently Asked Questions

What is the provincial inventory?
The provincial inventory lists province-wide greenhouse gas emissions and removals for the 1990 to 2015 calendar years. The tables include all provincial greenhouse gas emissions included in the province’s greenhouse gas targets, as well as emissions or removals for land use change and forest management. 

How is the 2015 provincial inventory format different from that of previous years?
In 2016 (2014 provincial inventory), B.C. began publishing inventory tables in a more accessible format, along with a methodology document and will continue to do so every year. This replaced the previous practice of publishing a full report every two years. 

Does the 2015 provincial inventory include any change to the 2007 baseline?
The 2015 provincial inventory includes updates to the 2007 baseline due to “back-casting,” a process through which any new or improved methodologies or findings are applied not only to the current year, but also to all prior years as applicable. This ensures the comparability of data over time. The 2014 provincial inventory reported 2007 GHG emissions at 66.3 million carbon dioxide equivalent tonnes (Mt CO2e); in the 2015 provincial inventory, the figure has been revised to 64.7 Mt CO2e. The 2007 emissions may be revised again in future years to address improvements in national and international GHG inventories. 

Caution should be exercised when interpreting year to year changes in GHG emissions. Some changes may be due to data collection gaps, methodology or error correction refinements. Other changes in emissions figures may be the result of one-time or specific events or actions (such as natural disasters or production disruptions). Variations in seasonal weather conditions (e.g., precipitation on electricity generation, heating/cooling degree days on building energy use) also influence emissions.

What is the source for greenhouse gas estimates in the provincial inventory tables?
Greenhouse gas estimates for most sectors are taken from the National Inventory Report 1990-2015: Greenhouse Gas Sources and Sinks in Canada, Canada’s Submission to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Estimates for the mining and upstream oil and gas production sectors are calculated by the Climate Action Secretariat as explained in the methodology document. 

What methods were used to calculate mining and upstream oil and gas production sector emissions?
Mining and upstream oil and gas production sector emissions for B.C. in the National Inventory Report differed from emissions amounts from direct industry reporting under the B.C. Greenhouse Gas Industrial Reporting and Control Act, Emission Reporting Regulation and from a 2014 report commissioned by Environment and Climate Change Canada regarding these emission sources. The emissions for this line item in the provincial inventory were estimated using data from the Environment and Climate Change Canada report in combination with known natural gas production levels and mining sector emissions. 

How does the Climate Action Secretariat work with Environment and Climate Change Canada and other federal agencies on greenhouse gas estimates?
Climate Action Secretariat staff work with federal agencies to review methods, improve data and cross-check greenhouse gas emission estimates annually.

How does the Climate Action Secretariat work with other provincial ministries on the annual provincial greenhouse gas 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 accurate and consistent with other government data. 

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 disaggregated greenhouse gas estimates for the afforestation and deforestation categories that are estimated in the National Inventory Report but are not disaggregated to the B.C. level. The National Inventory Report includes known discrepancies in the mining and upstream oil and gas production estimates. This line item is estimated using data from Environment and Climate Change Canada in combination with known natural gas production levels and mining sector emissions.

Are international air and marine travel emissions reported?
These emissions are not reported in the National Inventory Report or in the provincial inventory as they are not included in international guidelines on assembly of national inventories (IPCC/UNFCCC guidelines). 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 National Inventory Report since they are outside of British Columbia and are not included in international guidelines on assembly of national inventories (IPCC/UNFCCC guidelines). These emission sources are reported in the jurisdiction in which the electricity is generated.

What are "memo items"?
Memo items are provincial inventory items presented for information and transparency purposes but not included in the provincial greenhouse gas emissions total. 

Why are unconverted forest land, wetland, cropland and settlement emissions not included in the provincial total?
These emission categories are presented as memo items and are not currently counted towards the provincial total because: (1) Environment and Climate Change Canada does not include these emissions in national totals; (2) emissions from these categories are both large and volatile due to natural causes largely outside of human control (such as wildfire and pests). 

Why are afforestation and deforestation included within the provincial emissions total?
Afforestation and deforestation are included because: (1) adequate quantification methods are available that do not lead to a tendency to over- or under-estimate B.C.’s reported emission levels; (2) there is greater direct human control over these emissions; and (3) B.C. clearly indicated in its 2008 Climate Action Plan that actions to address forest-related emissions were an important part of reaching greenhouse gas targets. 

Why are the emissions from the burning of slash piles not reported?
Due to known errors in the calculations of slash pile emissions estimates as reported by Environment and Climate Change Canada under the “Other Land Use” category, and the lack of alternative data in which the province has sufficient confidence, B.C. made a decision not to publish an estimate for slash pile burning in the 2015 provincial inventory. B.C. is working with the Canadian Forest Service and Environment and Climate Change Canada to resolve this discrepancy.

Why are emissions not broken down by industry?}
The data collected for the National Inventory Report–from which the provincial inventory takes its estimates–comes from various sources and is not completely disaggregated to conventional industry sectors. Industrial greenhouse gas emissions in B.C. are published under the B.C. Greenhouse Gas Emission Reporting Regulation.

How does the provincial inventory relate to other B.C. government initiatives involving greenhouse gas emissions data — such as Carbon Neutral Government, the Community Energy and Emissions Inventory and facility reporting under the B.C. Greenhouse Gas Emission Reporting Regulation?
The provincial inventory provides a comprehensive picture of provincial greenhouse gas emissions. Other reporting initiatives provide greenhouse gas information for components of the B.C. economy to address specific objectives that may have differing data, analysis and communications needs.