Progress to emissions targets

Since 2019, B.C. has worked with many organizations, governments, and communities to put CleanBC into action. The most recent emissions data, from 2020, shows that provincial emissions decreased that year, in large part due to the impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic.

B.C. is committed to meeting its 2030 emissions target through accelerated and expanded action as part of the CleanBC Roadmap to 2030.

Learn more about current emissions data, the full suite of CleanBC actions and expected impacts in the 2022 Climate Change Accountability Report (PDF, 8.5MB) and the 2022 Supporting Material (PDF, 2.8MB).

Page last updated: November 21, 2022

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B.C.’s 2020 emissions

In 2020, B.C.’s net emissions, as reported in the Provincial Inventory, were down to 63.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e). That’s down 4% compared to 2019 and 3% compared to the base year of 2007. Our per capita greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions were also down by 5% and 19% respectively.  

An important consideration when viewing these results is that this reporting period (to December 2020) only partially covers the start-up phase of CleanBC – launched in December 2018. Many policies and programs, including those announced as part of the 2021 CleanBC Roadmap to 2030 (Roadmap), are expected to reduce emissions in the coming years.

Emissions by sector

To help meet provincial GHG targets, in March 2021 the Province established new 2030 sectoral emission reduction targets for four sectors, with 2007 as the baseline: 

  • Transportation, 27-32% 
  • Industry, 38-43% 
  • Oil and gas, 33-38% 
  • Buildings and communities, 59-64% 

As part of legislated requirements, government will review these targets by 2025.

Sectoral GHG targets modeling methodology (PDF, 266KB)

B.C.'s gross GHG emissions and categories by sector 2020

Sector 2020 GHG
(MtCO2e)
2020 % change from 2007 GHG Categories 
Transportation 25.9 + 11.7% Emissions from on-road light-duty vehicles, on-road heavy-duty vehicles, off-road vehicles and other transportation.
Oil and Gas 12.4 -7.2% Emissions from oil and gas extraction, processing and refining, as well as transportation emissions from pipelines.
Other Industry 12.7 -8.4% Emissions from industries other than oil and gas related to combustion of fuels at industrial facilities, coal fugitives, industrial processes, as well as those from construction and agriculture. 
Buildings and Communities  13.6 -9.9% Emissions from commercial and institutional buildings, residential buildings, waste, and land-use change such as urban and agricultural expansion (afforestation/deforestation.) 

 

Transportation (40% of B.C. emissions)

Transportation continued to account for the largest share of B.C.’s emissions in 2020 and saw a reduction from 2019 (-8%). Compared to 2007, transportation emissions are still 12% higher, driven by heavy-duty vehicles (+24%) and light-duty vehicles (+2%).

Buildings and Communities (21% of B.C. emissions)

Emissions from buildings and communities were almost unchanged from 2019, but were down 10% from 2007 levels. The reductions within this sector were driven by a 27% drop in emissions from waste and to a lesser degree by more stringent building codes and equipment standards.

Oil and Gas (19% of B.C. emissions) 

Emissions from the oil and gas sector were almost unchanged from 2019, but down 7% from 2007, which can be attributed to declining carbon intensity in natural gas production.

Other Industry (20% of B.C. emissions)

Emissions in the industrial sector, excluding oil and gas, were down 9% from the previous year and 8% compared to 2007. One driver of these reductions is lower industrial output that was experienced during the pandemic.

Learn more about actions taken in each sector to meet B.C.’s 2030 GHG targets.

B.C.’s gross emissions by sector in 2020 
(64.6 Mt CO2e total emissions) 

 

GHG emission chart by sector

Click on image to enlarge chart 

 

 

 

B.C.'s emissions estimates

B.C. estimates GHG emissions as a range to represent uncertainties in data and modelling. This could include different COVID-19 recovery scenarios, oil and natural gas price forecasts and different levels of industrial growth.

Near-term outlook to 2025

B.C.’s near-term outlook estimates emissions for the four years after the most recently available emissions data and for 2025. This year’s outlook suggests that emissions are likely to rebound in 2021 as economic activity returns closer to levels prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Emissions will then continue following a downward trajectory as CleanBC policies begin to take hold.

GHG emissions forecast 2021 to 2025

CleanBC projections to 2025 and 2030

Each year we update our model with the most recent data to estimate how close our current and planned CleanBC actions will bring us to our 2030 emissions targets.    

This year’s report includes actions from the Roadmap to 2030, released in late 2021, which lays the path to reaching our 2030 climate targets and provides a foundation for achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

Pathway to meeting B.C.'s 2025 and 2030 targets

Graph showing BC will achieve 80% of the 2025 target,(a gap of 1.6 MtCO2e).

Based on current commitments, we expect to see a gap of approximately 0.8 MtCO2e towards our 2030 target of 39.3 MtCO2e. This would bring B.C. 97% of the way to its 2030 emissions target.

The 2030 gap is due to changes in the National Inventory Report and the Provincial Inventory, and to improvements in forecasting that are reflected in the modelling. The commitments in the Roadmap have not changed.

For the 2025 target, the model estimates that we will achieve 85% of the target (a gap of 1.6 MtCO2e).

Given that we are currently projecting small gaps to our targets, the Province will be exploring the following options to address them:

  • Increasing the stringency of existing Roadmap commitments
  • Pursuing emissions reduction opportunities in sectors for which there are fewer targeted measures in the CleanBC Roadmap (e.g., agriculture and forest management)

Additional information on modelling 

Additional information on updated CleanBC modelling, as well as information on the latest Roadmap to 2030 modelling, can be found in our 2021 Modelling Methodology Report (PDF). Information on emissions trends to 2019 and methodology can be found in the Provincial greenhouse gas emissions inventory.



Climate-related spending

Carbon tax revenues

A price on carbon pollution is one of the most effective and economically efficient ways to reduce GHG emissions. The table below outlines the Province’s total carbon tax revenues and the incremental carbon tax revenues resulting from rate increases above $30 per tonne for 2020/21 through 2022/23.

On April 1, 2022, the carbon tax increased to $50 per tonne. 

Carbon tax revenues, illustrating tax increase impacts, by fiscal year

$ Millions Actual 2020/21 Actual 2021/22 Forecast 2022/23
Carbon tax rate, $ per tonne 40 45 50
Total carbon tax revenue 1,683 2.011 2,261
Annual revenue growth 1 328 250
Revenue growth due to base (i.e., changes to consumption) 1 92 28
Revenue growth due to rate increases - 236 222
Revenue growth due to rate increases - Cumulative Totals* 414 650 872

*Cumulative total of incremental carbon tax above $30/tonne since increases started in 2018

Note:

  • Because the carbon tax did not increase in 2020/21, revenues associated with a cumulative rate increase are nil between 2019/20 and 2020/21

Climate-related initiatives

Government spent a total of $1.4 billion on climate-related initiatives in the 2021/22 fiscal year.

Spending on climate related initiatives is expected to total approximately $ 1.9 billion in 2022/23 based on investments announced in Budget 2022 and previous budgets.

Spending on climate-related initiatives by fiscal year

Operating investments
($ million)
Sum of Actuals 2021/22 Forecast 2022/23
Cleaner buildings and communities 87.53 93.79
Cleaner government and public sector 13.69 19.59
Cleaner industry 119.87 176.02
Cleaner transportation 81.21 51.32
Climate Preparedness and Adaptation 245.42 113.62
Climate Action Tax Credit 325.00 363.00
Other tax measures* 7.00 53.00
Other climate spending 112.99 85.04
Transit projects 130.20 144.85
Total 1,122.91 1,100.22
 
Capital investments
($ million)
Sum of Actuals 2021/22   Forecast 2022/23
Clean government and public sector 65.63  73.27
Cleaner transportation 7.00  6.16
Transit projects 239.63 701.50
Total 306.16 780.93
Grand total (operating and capital)     1,429.08    1,881.16

Note: Amounts in each year are not cumulative and totals may not add due to rounding. Amounts are not audited. The list may not capture all climate-related spending by government and this presentation may expand in subsequent reports.  

Other tax measures include: PST Exemption on used ZEVs e-bikes, and heat pumps, among others. Some exemptions (e.g., PST) are largely point-of-sale exemptions - they can only be estimated unlike expenditures provided through other taxes. 

CleanBC operating and capital spending are broken down by sector.

Other clean spending includes spending on the Beneficial Management Practices program for climate-related on-farm upgrades, the First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund, and the Forest Enhancement Society of BC.

Capital spending includes the expansion of Vancouver’s Broadway Subway and other major projects.