Canada on track to break record for COVID emissions

The vast majority of the cases reported are in the Greater Toronto Area, according to the province. The vast majority of the cases reported are in the Greater Toronto Area, according to the province.

Canada is on track to break a record for COVID, or carbon dioxide emissions from road vehicles, according to government data released Thursday, though Ontario — the province hit hardest by Ontario’s massive wildfires — reported the largest spike.

The bulk of the incidents — 1,290 — occurred in the Greater Toronto Area, while just 192 were in British Columbia, according to the government of Ontario. As of Nov. 16, more than a third of Canada’s COVID cases — 1,698 — happened in Ontario, while 94% of British Columbia’s COVID cases were in British Columbia, the government said.

In those same days, a large fire burned across the Highway 17 corridor between Niagara and Golden, Ont., causing flooding that damaged both the highway and access to the Wood Buffalo uranium mine, which is the world’s largest single-mine producer of uranium.

Drivers could face charges up to $10,000 in fines or a year in jail for driving their cars through floodwaters, Toronto Fire Services Commissioner Matthew Pegg said last week.

Canada was on track to break its previous record for COVID emissions for a full year, set in 2016 at 5,860.5 megatonnes. By Sept. 30, Canada’s COVID emissions were 5,665.7 metric tonnes, and they’re projected to go up by 200 metric tonnes by 2019.

The provinces of Ontario and Alberta — which set significant limits on their emissions in 2017 after ruling to increase carbon prices — have led the increases. In Alberta, emissions are up 20 per cent and in Ontario they’re up 22 per cent. The increases, by the numbers, explain the overall rise in emissions that have taken place around the world since the Paris Agreement, which aims to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times.

This year is on track to be a record-breaking year for global COVID, according to data from the International Air Transport Association, which represents airlines. While the number of recorded COVID cases fell from 99 to 94 in 2017, the increase in global COVID emissions year-over-year amounted to 7 per cent, according to data published in January by the U.N. Environmental Program.

Though new rules for diesel trucks came into effect in September, which will see emissions from the transport sector reduced by at least 24 per cent, the push toward cleaner transportation is being countered by rising emissions from other sectors.

Canada currently sits in the bottom two places on the World Economic Forum’s Global Climate Risk Index, which measures the likelihood of extreme weather events like wildfires.

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