Quebecers’ carbon footprint is larger than we thought

Quebecers’ carbon footprint is larger than we thought

The carbon footprint of Quebec society is much higher than that in the official report that the Quebec government publishes each year, and a preliminary estimate reveals Published on Monday by the Statistical Institute of Quebec (ISQ).

According to the recorded data, the carbon footprint was “at least” 95 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent2 In 2018, that equates to 11.3 tons per capita. The official assessment published by the Quebec government, for its part, reports on 81.04 million tons For the same year 2018.

It must be said that the ISQ has created a more complete assessment of Quebec’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This measures emissions in the province (50 million tons, or 53% of the balance), but also those emissions elsewhere in Canada (15 million tons, or 16% of the balance) and those produced elsewhere in the world (30 million tonsi.e. 31% of the balance sheet).

These emissions generated elsewhere on the planet, which are “underestimated” according to the ISQ, include approximately 24 million tons of greenhouse gases that are attributed to the “manufacturing” of the goods we consume here. We can think of, for example, products made in China, the United States or Mexico, and then exported to Quebec.

associated carbon footprint household “current spending” It accounts for the largest share of a Quebec community’s carbon footprint, 72%, which equates to 68 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions, including 18 million tons elsewhere in the world. It must be said that these current expenditures for the generation of greenhouse gases include energy and fuel consumption, especially for vehicles.

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away from the Paris Agreement

The ISQ estimates greenhouse gas emissions per capita at 11.3 tons, of which 8.1 tons are directly attributable to homes. Thus, Quebec’s per capita greenhouse gas emissions are five times higher than achieving the most ambitious target of the Paris Agreement, which is to limit climate change to +1.5°C. To achieve this, emissions per citizen must not exceed a maximum of 2 tons.

A “carbon footprint” is the total amount of greenhouse gases emitted by activities used to meet demand for goods or services. It allows greenhouse gas emissions to be attributed to the end user of the good or service, regardless of where those emissions occurred and who produced them. It takes into account all emissions from the chain of production and marketing of goods and services.

For HEC Montreal’s head of energy sector management, Pierre-Olivier Pinault, the ISQ report is “more complete” than the Quebec emissions inventory. “This allows us to highlight the fact that our final consumption is the cause of our greenhouse gas emissions, even if they occur elsewhere – and in industries that seem far away to us,” he explains.

However, we must not forget Carbon footprint associated with Quebec exports, which the ISQ estimates to be 77 million tons of greenhouse gases. “This footprint is made up of the carbon footprint of international exports and re-exports,” but also the footprint associated with products shipped elsewhere in Canada. Mr. Pino cites the case of aluminum smelters as an example.

Circular economy

In general, the expert welcomes the idea of ​​a better communication of the fact that industries produce to serve consumers as we do. “The idea is not to place the entire burden of environmental guilt on individuals, but to make people understand that in order to reduce greenhouse gases, all production chains and consumption methods must be changed.”

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He asserts that the “circular economy” presents a major potential for reducing greenhouse gases, thanks to the reduction in consumption of material goods and the reuse and recycling.

Same story with Andréanne Brazeau, climate policy analyst at Équiterre. “Finally, we are quantifying the impact of our excessive consumption of products of all kinds, from our clothes to our refrigerators, through our phones and laptops. This new data is essential for making the most appropriate environmental and climate policies,” she says.

This new study demonstrates once again that the lifestyle of Quebec families is not sustainable and that we should be consuming less and consuming better. Contrary to what the Legault government is proposing, Quebec’s environmental record is far from exemplary, and changes of unprecedented magnitude will have to be made, including a certain reduction in the most polluting sectors of the economy. Greenpeace Climate and Energy Campaign Patrick Boonen.

Overuse of resources

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About the Author: Hermínio Guimarães

"Introvertido premiado. Viciado em mídia social sutilmente charmoso. Praticante de zumbis. Aficionado por música irritantemente humilde."

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