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 2019, shows that provincial emissions rose slightly that year, highlighting the need for strong and continued action on climate change.

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 2021 Climate Change Accountability Report (PDF, 6.9MB) and the 2021 Supporting Material (PDF, 5.3MB)The 2021 report does not include actions from the new CleanBC Roadmap to 2030.

Page last updated: Oct. 25, 2021

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B.C.’s 2019 emissions

In 2019, B.C.’s gross GHG emissions were 68.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt CO2e).

This represents an increase of 5% (3.0 Mt CO2e) from 2007 levels, and a less than 1% increase (0.2 Mt CO2e) from 2018. The increase since 2018 is due to higher transportation and industrial emissions, as well as methodology changes which increased reported emissions related to waste and deforestation.

After applying emission reductions from forest management offset projects, B.C.’s net GHG emissions were 67.2 Mt CO2e,  a net increase of 2% (1.5 Mt CO2e) from 2007 levels.

The increase in emissions in 2019 is in line with last year’s emissions forecast which predicted emissions would be between 66.5 and 69.5 Mt CO2e, as the 2019 data does not yet reflect the results of CleanBC actions. Our current emissions forecast projects that the emissions curve will begin to bend downwards in 2020, in part due to CleanBC actions and temporary emissions reductions from the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Emissions by sector

To help meet provincial greenhouse gas targets, in March 2021 the Province established new 2030 sectoral emission reduction targets for transportation, oil and gas, industry and buildings and communities.​ These sectoral targets serve as guideposts to keep government on track.

Transportation (39% of B.C. emissions)

Transportation emissions are up 22% from 2007 level. This increase is largely due to increased emissions from heavy-duty vehicles emissions, which rose by 29%. Passenger vehicle emissions also rose 14% compared to 2007.

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

Emissions from buildings and communities have fallen 12% from 2007 levels. The reductions within this sector include an 8% drop in emissions from residential and commercial buildings compared to 2007 and a 24% drop in emissions from waste, including solid waste disposal (down 24%) and industrial wood waste (down 28%).

A pie graph showing B.C.'s 2019 gross emissions. Industry was 14.3%, buildings and communities were 14.1%, transportation was 26.8% and oil and gas emissions were 13.4%.

B.C.'s gross emissions by sector in 2019
(68.6 Mt CO2e total emissions)

Oil and gas (19% of B.C. emissions)

Oil and gas emissions are 1% lower than they were in 2007. Emissions from venting and flaring dropped 31% in 2019, compared to 2007 levels. Emissions from oil and gas extraction are up 10%.

Other industry (21% of B.C. emissions)

Industrial emissions have increased by 2% since 2007. Agricultural emissions, which make up less than 5% of B.C.’s emissions, are up 17%. The rise in agricultural emissions has largely been offset by other reductions within this sector, including a 25% drop in light manufacturing emission

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

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 estimate to 2023

B.C.’s near-term outlook estimates emissions for the four years after the most recently available emissions data. This year's outlook suggests that emissions will level off before beginning a downward trajectory, as CleanBC policies begin to take hold and emissions decline from the COVID-19 economic downturn.

GHG emissions forecast from 2020 to 2023

B.C.'s emissions are forecast to decline to 62 to 65 Mt CO2e by 2023.

CleanBC projections to 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 GHG targets.  

The 2021 Climate Change Accountability Report estimate is based on existing CleanBC actions only. Actions from the CleanBC Roadmap to 2030, released in late 2021, are not included. Learn more about the CleanBC Roadmap to 2030, 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 2030 target

Graph showing a gap of 13.8 to 17.8 Mt CO2e to reach 2030 emissions target via actions from CleanBC.

B.C. estimates existing CleanBC actions will result in a 2030 emissions total of approximately 55.2 Mt CO2e, roughly equal to 40% of the way to B.C.’s 2030 target

This is a larger gap to the 2030 target than estimated in last year’s report and is largely due to:

  • Updated assumptions for CleanBC modelling that results in fewer reductions. For example,  increased natural gas pricing, higher electrification costs, and a lower electricity load forecast causes higher industrial emissions estimates, particularly in the natural gas and manufacturing sectors
  • Updated historical trends where emissions have been increasing. For example, in pulp and paper (due to production increases) and transportation (due in part to preference for larger vehicles)
  • Emissions methodology changes, such as updating emissions totals for waste and land-use change emissions based on a revised approach by the federal government

In 2021, B.C. worked on developing new policies and actions and recently released the CleanBC Roadmap to 2030. The actions outlined in this updated strategy are expected to close the gap to our 2030 target.

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 emission trends to 2019 and methodology can be found in the Provincial greenhouse gas emission inventory.

Climate-related spending

Carbon tax revenues

B.C.’s carbon tax increased from $30 per tonne of CO2e emissions in 2017 to $35 per tonne in 2018, $40 per tonne in 2019, and $45 per tonne on April 1, 2021 (there was no increase in 2020 as a COVID-19 relief measure).

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

Table 1: Carbon tax revenues, illustrating tax increase impacts, by fiscal year

$ millions Actual 2019/20 Actual 2020/21 Forecast 2021/22
Carbon tax rate, $ per tonne $40 $40 $45
Total carbon tax revenue 1,682 1,683 2,068
Annual revenue growth 217 1 385
Revenue growth due to base (i.e. changes to consumption) 12 1 145
Revenue growth due to rate increases 205 - 240
Revenue growth due to rate increases - Cumulative Totals* 414 414 654

* Cumulative total of incremental carbon tax above $30/tonne since increases started in 2017

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

Table 1 outlines the total carbon tax revenues and the total incremental carbon tax revenues due to rate increases. Government is expected to collect $654 million in incremental carbon tax revenue due to rate increases that began after 2017/18, when government collected $1.255 billion in carbon tax revenues.

Climate-related initiatives

Government spent a total of $1.33 billion on climate-related initiatives and StrongerBC (September 2020) in the 2020/21 fiscal year.

Spending on climate related initiatives is expected to total up to $1.46 billion in 2021/22 based on investments announced in Budget 2021 and previous budgets. B.C. has committed to more than $2.2 billion in cumulative spending over five years on CleanBC initiatives since 2019/20.

Table 2: Spending on climate-related initiatives by fiscal year

Operating investments
$ million
Sum of actuals 2020/21 Forecast 2021/22
Cleaner buildings and communities 83.34 117.68
Cleaner industry 104.64 119.93
Cleaner transportation 86.00 84.22
Climate Action Tax Credit 303.39 312.00
Other clean spending 82.97 131.31
StrongerBC climate action spending 186.58 0.00
Transit projects 126.86 149.76
Total 973.77 914.90
Capital investments
$ million
Sum of actuals 2020/21  Forecast 2021/22
Clean Government and public sector 44.39 58.25
Cleaner buildings and communities 4.38 13.70
Cleaner transportation 3.24 7.00
Transit projects 305.43 472.56
Total 357.43 551.51
Grand total (operating and capital) 1331.20 1466.41

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.

Table 2 outlines spending for carbon tax rebates and measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address climate change risks for each fiscal year.

CleanBC operating and capital spending are broken down by sector. These sectors include government programs for cleaner transportation, energy efficient buildings, Indigenous and remote communities, the CleanBC Program for Industry and other CleanBC programming.

The climate action tax credit amount for 2020/21 does not incorporate the one-time enhancement the B.C. government provided as part B.C.’s COVID-19 Action Plan.

StrongerBC climate action funding was for 2020/21 only.

Transit project budgets may change on an annual basis as funding is reprofiled.

Other clean spending includes spending on climate adaptation, energy efficient public sector buildings, clean tech innovation, waste, the Forest Carbon Initiative and other initiatives.

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