British Columbia Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report
Frequently Asked Questions
Select a question:
What is the British Columbia Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report 2010?
The Provincial Inventory Report is the report to the public on 2010 B.C. provincial greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions levels (total and by various categories and types) as required under the Greenhouse Gas Reductions Target Act.
Does this revise the 2007 baseline for the Greenhouse Gas Reductions Target Act?
Yes, the 2010 Provincial Inventory Report revises the baseline for the province’s greenhouse gas reduction targets from a previously reported 68.5 to 64.9 megatonnes CO2e. The revision is mostly attributable to updated Energy Sector estimates. The 2007 emissions figure may subsequently be updated to address improvements to data and inventory methods – in keeping with national and international GHG inventory procedures.
Why was the report not released earlier?
B.C. relies on data from Environment Canada’s National Inventory Report (NIR), which is typically released 16 months after the end of the inventory year. This time is required by Environment Canada and other federal agencies to assemble data, cross-check estimates and prepare the NIR. Additional time is required subsequent to the release of the national report to confirm provincial-scale data and prepare the Provincial Inventory Report.
Will a report be prepared every year?
The Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets Act requires reporting emissions for 2007 and subsequent even-numbered years, beginning in 2008. Environment Canada reports annual, although slightly less comprehensive, estimates of B.C. GHG emissions along with estimates for all of Canada’s other provinces.
What is the source of the GHG estimates in the report?
All GHG estimates except for Fossil Fuel Production and Refining are taken from the Environment Canada National Inventory Report 1990-2010.
What methods were used to calculate Fossil Fuel Production and Refining Emissions?
The emission data from the 2010 National Inventory Report has a substantial inconsistency in the Fossil Fuel and Refining line item. This inconsistency has been recognized by both Environment Canada and Statistics Canada, but couldn’t be fixed prior to the release of the National GHG Inventory Report. It will be fixed for next year’s national report.
As a result of this inconsistency, B.C. has re-estimated the Fossil Fuel Production and Refining emissions using a combination of data published under the B.C. GHG Reporting Regulation and Ministry of Energy and Mines natural gas production statistics.
How does the Ministry work with Environment Canada and other federal agencies on the GHG estimates?
Ministry staff have a close working relationship with Environment Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Foods Canada, Statistics Canada and Canadian Forest Service staff in ensuring accuracy of methods, improving source data and cross-checking GHG estimates. Joint work has included face-to-face meetings, conference calls and early review of National Inventory Report estimates.
How does the Ministry work with other provincial ministries on the GHG estimates?
Ministry staff work closely with colleagues in other ministries to ensure that figures and additional information contained in the Provincial Inventory Report are accurate and consistent. A formal inter-agency inventory committee has not been established; rather, information is exchanged and meetings are held, as required.
Where are efforts to improve technical inventory data currently focussed?
Year 2010 improvements focussed on: (i) revising Fossil Fuel Production and Refining estimates; (ii) understanding Energy Sector recalculations; and (iii) obtaining GHG estimates for emissions categories not reported federally at a provincial level.
Year 2012 improvements are likely to focus on: (i) incorporating Statistics Canada Secondary Distributors Survey data into provincial estimates; (ii) further updating afforestation and deforestation area and GHG estimates; (iii) improving GHG estimates for Fossil Fuel Production and Refining, and fugitive oil and gas; and (iv) updating forest carbon modelling parameters used as input to the national results.
Why does the emissions figure in the Provincial Inventory Report differ from the figure in the Environment Canada National Inventory Report?
The Provincial Inventory Report includes GHG estimates for the afforestation and deforestation categories that are estimated nationally in the National Inventory Report but not disaggregated to the B.C.-level. In addition, an inconsistency in the federally reported Fossil Fuel Production and Refining line item was addressed. As a result of including these modifications, reported emissions in this B.C. Provincial GHG Report (62.0 megatonnes) are 5.9 megatonnes CO2e (10.5 per cent) higher than the emissions reported for B.C. in the National Inventory Report.
Are international air and marine travel emissions reported?
No. These emissions are not reported in the National Inventory Report, since they are not included in the IPCC/UNFCCC guidelines. B.C. follows National Inventory Report standards and does not include them within its Provincial Inventory Report. Emissions from air and marine travel originating in B.C. and ending within Canada are included in the two reports.
Why are B.C. thermal electricity imports not included in the reported provincial emissions?
B.C. is following the international reporting protocols set out by the UNFCCC. These protocols do not include thermal electricity imports. BC is, however, considering adding thermal electricity imports as a memo item that does not count to provincial totals in its inventory.
Memo items are inventory items presented for information and transparency purposes, but do not formally count towards the provincial greenhouse gas emissions total.
Why are 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 as: (i) Environment Canada does not include their emissions in national totals; (ii) accounting procedures are in the final stages of development internationally to handle the risk of natural disturbance, age class distributions and harvested wood products. B.C. may include these items at such a time as they count towards Canada’s national totals.
Why are afforestation and deforestation included within the provincial emissions total?
Afforestation and deforestation are included because: (i) quantification methods do not lead to a tendency to over- or under-estimate B.C.’s reported emission levels; (ii) there is greater direct human control over these emissions than for land use sources and sinks; and (iii) they are counted internationally towards Canada’s Kyoto Protocol commitments.
Why are forest land emissions so high?
Current emissions are very high due to both the size and severity of the current mountain pine beetle epidemic and recent years with a large amount of forest fires. Also international accounting standards currently make the assumption that wood products do not sequester carbon. So, for instance, if you cut down a tree you must count all of the carbon in that tree as being released into the atmosphere. Quite often it might be the case that a lot of that tree is being turned into 2 by 4’s, so the carbon is not being released at that time.
Why are emissions not broken down by industry?
The data collected for the National Inventory Report upon which the Provincial Inventory Report takes its estimates comes from various sources, some disaggregated to conventional industry breakdowns, some not. Reporting by industry type would only provide coarse GHG estimates, particularly due to some categories such as off-road transportation.
Why did emissions increase by 0.8 per cent between 2009 and 2010?
Reported emissions increased from 61.5 to 62.0 megatonnes CO2e due to increases in heavy duty transportation, off-road transportation and Fossil Fuel Production and Refining energy use and fugitive coal mine emissions. Emissions levels have, however, been relatively constant over the past five years. Year-to-year changes in reported emissions should not be read as a trend since weather conditions, changes in methods, economic conditions and data issues can mask true emissions trends. Readers are encouraged to consider three and ten year trend data when comparing changes in emissions.
Why does the sector breakdown for total B.C. GHG emissions shown in Figure 1 of the Provincial Inventory Report not match those in the Climate Action Plan?
The Climate Action Plan industry sector categorization for total B.C. GHG emissions (updated for 2008 in the colour pie chart) was established prior to the Provincial Inventory Report on the basis of traditional industry sectors within B.C.
The categories used in the Provincial Inventory Report (shown in the 3-D pie chart) follow established UNFCCC and National Inventory Report protocols.
The two pie charts present the same data, but for different purposes.
Are the emission factors and definitions in this report the "standard" for consistent use and application in all B.C. situations?
Yes. The definitions and emission factors set standards for B.C. There will, however, be a number of cases in which site-specific or further refined emission factors can be developed for specific policy and program applications. Examples of these include the use of Western Climate Initiative, Greenhouse Gas Reduction (Cap and Trade) Act Reporting Regulation or Carbon Neutral Government quantification methods, site-specific information or modeling of forest growth.
This Provincial Inventory Report provides a comprehensive picture of provincial greenhouse gas emissions (including the provincial 2007 baseline) and significant emission factor and definition guidance for related provincial greenhouse gas inventory and reduction initiatives. Other initiatives provide detailed GHG estimates for components of the B.C. economy to address specific legal, policy or financial objectives that may have differing data, analysis and communications needs.
For example, the Community Energy Emissions Inventory provides detailed GHG estimates for buildings, transportation and solid waste for each municipality and regional district within B.C. At the Regional District level emissions from deforestation and agricultural enteric fermentation are also reported. As the scope of the two reports (as well as methods and data sources) differ, categories and inventory totals are not directly related.
Where can I get more information on the Provincial Inventory Report, detailed inventory totals or emissions factors?
TThe Provincial Inventory Report (approximately 70 pp.) and a summary can be viewed or downloaded in pdf format from the Ministry’s website here. Excel format spreadsheets with the full 1990-2010 emission and activity data, the emission factors and other data shown in the report can also be downloaded from the web page. Additional questions can be sent to: GHGInventory@gov.bc.ca.