Five Per Cent is Not Enough for Canada

Canada's consumption of energy has decreased only 5% on a per-capita basis since it signed the Kyoto Protocol in 1997. Total consumption now is 71,000 kWh per person, according to federal data, but fossil fuels are increasing their market share over electricity from wind, solar and other renewable energies.

Per-capita energy consumption in Canada has declined only five per cent since it signed the Kyoto Protocol 20 years ago.

Total consumption in 2014 (latest year available) was 71,200 kWh per person, compared with 75,100 kWh in 1997, according to the ‘Comprehensive Energy Use Database' compiled by the federal Office of Energy Efficiency. Gross consumption of all fuels rose 17 per cent over the period, but the 12 per cent increase in electricity means that fossil fuels are gaining market share over wind, solar and other renewable energies.

"Governments must stop exhorting people to limit global temperature rise to 1.5oC," says Bill Eggertson, executive director of the Canadian Association for Renewable Energies. "Almost all carbon emissions come from dirty fuels, so our focus must be on how we use energy and the impact of that consumption on our climate, not the other way around."

Government statistics show the average household consumes 31,000 kWh a year of all fuels, and emits 5 tonne of carbon of which 85 per cent is from heating space and water.

"The ‘One Tonne Challenge' never explained what a tonne was, nor how much we emitted, nor how people could reduce," adds Eggertson. "Only when Canadians are challenged to act based on factors over which we have some control, will there be any chance of saving our environment."

Canada subsequently withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol but signed the 2015 Paris Agreement, which is supported by every nation except the United States.

For more background on Canada's energy consumption since Kyoto, see

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