When it comes to our exploding climate crisis, fossil fuels are the undisputed weapons of mass destruction.

In a 2012 TED Talk that's been viewed more than a million times, climate scientist James Hansen explains the climate impact from burning fossil fuels is the "equivalent of exploding 400,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs per day, 365 days per year. That’s how much extra energy Earth is gaining each day." For energy nerds, the energy in our climate system is rising at the rate of 250 trillion joules per second.

Historically, the responsibility for carbon-bombing our climate has been assigned to the demand for fossil fuels — the people buying and burning them. But after decades of climate failure using this one-sided approach, responsibility is quickly expanding to include the carbon bomb suppliers, as well. These are the people who extract and sell fossil fuels.

To get a sense of Canada’s role as a carbon bomb supplier, and how we compare to peer nations, I dug into the fossil fuel production data from BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy. Here’s what I found.

Canada versus the Big Five economies

My first chart shows the amount of climate pollution being dug out of the ground in the form of fossil fuels. This is the carbon dioxide released when the fossil fuel product is burned. In climate parlance, emissions caused by the use of your product are known as Scope 3 emissions. And when your product is fossil fuels, Scope 3 emissions account for 80 per cent of the pollution they cause. (Note: For an overview of Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions, see the endnotes.)

Climate pollution extracted per capita in Canada and top five economies.

Canadians are the red line on top. Back in 1990, we extracted fossil fuels containing 24 tonnes of CO2 (tCO2) per Canadian. That was five times the global average. Instead of reducing our carbon bomb production to ensure a safe and sane climate future, we cranked it up. We now dig up 35 tCO2 per Canadian — seven times the current global average. And we aren’t planning to stop there.

For comparison, the world’s five largest economies are shown by the gray lines on the chart:

1. U.S. — The world’s largest economy is synonymous with fossil fuel excess. But even the Americans only dig up half as much climate pollution per person as we do. If Canadians were willing to restrain ourselves to an American level of climate extremism, we’d cut our Scope 3 climate pollution in half.

2. China — The world’s second-largest economy is known for rampant coal extraction. The Chinese now extract 5 tCO2 per capita each year just in coal. When combined with their oil and gas production, they extract a total of 6 tCO2 per person. Canadians dig up six times more climate pollution per person. If we refuse to rein in our super-sized carbon bomb production, why would China — or anyone else — stop at far less?

It turns out Canada really is a climate leader — but sadly, in the wrong direction. @bsaxifrage breaks it down for @NatObserver readers

3. Japan — Japan has few fossil fuel deposits that it can extract. Its only major source is frozen methane hydrates in its deep ocean waters. Fortunately for our climate future, Japan hasn't figured out how to extract them cost-effectively despite decades of trying.

4. Germany — You might be surprised to hear that Germany was the world's third-largest coal producer back in 1990. Since then, they've shut down two-thirds of their coal production. As a result, the amount of climate pollution Germany extracts per person has plunged from 11 tonnes of CO2 per year, down to just three. As Canadians can probably imagine, it isn’t ever easy to rein in your dominant fossil fuel industry. But Germany has cut off most coal subsidies and shut down most of the extraction.

5. U.K. — Coal also used to be a key part of the British economy and national identity. So, it hasn’t been easy for them, either, to reduce the amount of coal they extract. But they’ve now shuttered nearly all of it. In recent decades, oil has been their dominant fossil fuel industry. And they’ve even managed to reduce extraction of that — and cut methane gas extraction, too. Along the way, the British cut their direct fossil fuel emissions in half.

If our Commonwealth peers can reduce their climate damage in all those areas, Canadians certainly could, too. We know how to rein in our climate impacts, we've simply chosen not to.

Make that a dozen

To provide an even larger context, I’ve expanded my chart to show the world's top 12 economies. Canada is one of them, at No. 9.

Climate pollution extracted per capita in Canada and dozen largest economies.

Together, these 12 nations generate 70 per cent of the global GDP. If the world is going to prevent a full-blown climate breakdown, these nations will need to lead the way.

As the red line shows, Canadians remain the climate rogues even in this expanded group. It turns out we really are climate leaders — but sadly, in the wrong direction.

Only the Russians dig up and sell anywhere close to as much climate pollution per person as Canadians do.

The remaining major economies — No. 6 India, No. 7 France, No. 8 Italy, No. 10 South Korea and No. 12 Brazil — are all extracting climate pollution at or below the global average per person.

Preventing a full-blown climate crisis requires rapidly decreasing the amount of climate pollution getting pulled out of the ground — all the way to zero. The carbon-bombing laying waste to our formerly stable climate needs to stop.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has been blunt about what needs to happen: nations must “end all new fossil fuel exploration and production” and turn away from “fossil fuels before they destroy our planet.”

Breakdown

I’ll wrap up with a final chart showing the breakdown of Canada’s climate pollution extraction.

Climate pollution extracted per capita in Canada in 1990 vs 2021, by fossil fuel type

Of particular note is the dark red wedge at the bottom. That’s the amount of climate pollution we extract in the form of bitumen (“oilsands”).

Our Scope 3 climate pollution arising from bitumen has surged seven-fold since 1990. It’s now up to 14 tonnes of CO2 per Canadian — and still rising. That alone exceeds all the climate pollution extracted per person in China, Britain, Germany and India — combined.

Amazingly, even such an extreme level of carbon bomb production still isn’t enough for Canada’s federal and provincial governments. They continue to greenlight ever more climate pollution extraction — while pouring billions of taxpayer dollars into super-sizing it even further.

The goal seems to be to ensure that the very last carbon-bombing of Earth’s battered climate will be done with Canadian-made bombs. And while there are profits to be made from producing weapons of mass climate destruction, Canada plans to have its elbows out grabbing as big a slice of the calamity pie for itself as possible.

Turning toward climate safety?

If Canadians ever want to turn around and head toward climate sanity, we have lots of options for reining in our carbon bomb juggernaut.

For example, we’ve been aligning many of our climate policies and targets with the Americans for decades. We could now align our Scope 3 emissions per capita, as well. As shown above, if we did that, then our Scope 3 emissions would be heading down to net zero — instead of ever upwards as they are now.

We could also adopt successful policies used by our British and German peers who have made deep cuts in their climate pollution extraction. Both nations have reduced carbon extraction in their primary fossil fuel industries.

And we could sign on to the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty. This global treaty aims for a fair and co-ordinated ramp down in the production of weapons of mass climate destruction.

And, of course, Canadian citizens have the ability right now and every day to combine their voices, financial power and votes to drive the needed changes.

As these charts make clear, our comfortable status quo in Canada is leading us away from safety and into an increasingly hostile climate war zone. All those carbon bombs we are making are falling on our own families' future, as well.

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Endnotes

ABOUT SCOPE 1, SCOPE 2 & SCOPE 3 EMISSIONS

There are three categories used for reporting climate pollution.

Scope 1 covers directly released emissions (from the fossil fuels you burn directly).

Scope 2 covers indirect emissions from other energy you use (the emissions from generating the electricity you use).

Scope 3 covers indirect emissions emitted throughout the "value chain" for your product or service (from your fossil fuel products when burned by your customers).

These three categories are used to divide up the responsibility for the full "value chain" of a product or service. Historically, responsibility has mostly been focused on Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions. But this method has spectacularly failed to meet global climate goals. As a result, the focus is rapidly expanding to cover the entire "value chain" by including Scope 3 emissions as well.

FOSSIL FUEL DEMAND (SCOPE 1 EMISSIONS)

This article covered the supply side of climate pollution (Scope 3 emissions of fossil fuels). For those interested in the demand side (Scope 1 emissions of fossil fuels), here’s a chart showing these direct fossil fuel emissions per capita in the same nations.

Climate pollution emitted per capita from burning fossil fuels in Canada and dozen largest economies

As you can see, Canadians are the biggest fossil fuel guzzlers (Scope 1 climate polluters) in this group, as well. We emit an average of more than 15 tCO2 per person each year from burning fossil fuels.

The Americans used to emit many tonnes more per person than Canadians. But they’ve been reducing their national emissions in recent years while Canada hasn’t. So now the Yanks have passed us up, leaving us dead last among the world's dozen largest economies.

Also worth noting are the British, who have cut their emissions in half since 1990. They are now down to 6 tCO2 per capita, close to the global average.

India did the opposite. They doubled their per capita emissions since 1990. Even so, they remain the smallest emitters per person in this group at less than 2 tCO2.

The source for these Scope 1 emissions data is also BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy.

FOSSIL FUEL SUPPLY (SCOPE 3 EMISSIONS)

More Scope 3 transparency needed — The United Nations has a good system for collecting and reporting national Scope 1 emissions. But it lacks an equivalent for national Scope 3 emissions. As a result, it is significantly harder (see my notes below) to find and track what nations are doing with their Scope 3 climate pollution. The climate fight requires transparent and consistent emissions reporting to be successful. Everyone needs to be able to quickly and easily see what nations are doing with climate pollutants in order to monitor progress.

How I calculated Scope 3 emissions — For those interested in the nitty-gritty of how I calculated national Scope 3 emissions, here’s a quick overview:

  • DATA SOURCE — I started by downloading the data from BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy. They helpfully make this available as a series of spreadsheets.
  • STEP 1: COAL — I used the BP coal production spreadsheet that lists volume in millions of tonnes of coal extracted by nation and year. I then converted this into Scope 3 CO2 using the rough global average of 2 tCO2 per tonne of coal.
  • STEP 2: METHANE GAS — I used the BP gas production spreadsheet that lists volume in exajoules of gas extracted by nation and year. I converted that data into Scope 3 CO2 using the IPCC standard guidance of 56.1 tCO2 per terajoule.
  • STEP 3: OIL — I used the BP oil production spreadsheet that lists volume in exajoules of oil extracted by nation and year. I converted that into Scope 3 CO2 using the IPCC standard guidance of 73.3 tCO2 per terajoule.
  • STEP 4: COMBINING — I created a new spreadsheet that summed the values for coal, gas and oil. This spreadsheet has a row for each nation and columns for the total climate pollution extracted in each year.
  • STEP 5: POPULATION — To calculate per capita totals, I needed every nation’s population in every year. Fortunately, this can be calculated using two BP spreadsheets: “Primary Energy Consumption” divided by “Primary Energy Consumption Per Capita.” (Note: I recommend keeping this spreadsheet handy as it proves invaluable in converting all kinds of national energy data into per-capita values.)
  • FINAL STEP: CALCULATE PER CAPITA EMISSIONS — I created a final spreadsheet to hold the national per capita values. These values were calculated by dividing national Scope 3 emissions by population in each year.

Keep reading

Saxifrage: "As you can see, Canadians are the biggest fossil fuel guzzlers (Scope 1 climate polluters) in this group, as well."

Correct me if I am wrong, but the GHG Protocol that defines the accounting standards for attributing greenhouse gas emissions pertains only to corporate emissions (businesses/companies/industries, entities and institutions, governments, organizations) — not to populations and individual consumers.
Canadians' fossil fuel guzzling counts as Scope 3 emissions for businesses/companies/industries.

"The GHG Protocol Corporate Standard classifies a company’s GHG emissions into three ‘scopes’. Scope 1 emissions are direct emissions from owned or controlled sources. Scope 2 emissions are indirect emissions from the generation of purchased energy. Scope 3 emissions are all indirect emissions (not included in scope 2) that occur in the value chain of the reporting company, including both upstream and downstream emissions." (Greenhouse Gas Protocol FAQ)

"Greenhouse Gas Protocol provides standards, guidance, tools and training for business and government to measure and manage climate-warming emissions.
GHG Protocol establishes comprehensive global standardized frameworks to measure and manage greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from private and public sector operations, value chains and mitigation actions.
"Building on a 20-year partnership between World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), GHG Protocol works with governments, industry associations, NGOs, businesses and other organizations.
"GHG Protocol arose when WRI and WBCSD recognized the need for an international standard for CORPORATE GHG accounting and reporting in the late 1990s.
"The first edition of the Corporate Standard, published in 2001, has been updated with additional guidance that clarifies how companies can measure emissions from electricity and other energy purchases, and account for emissions from throughout their value chains. GHG Protocol also developed a suite of calculation tools to assist companies in calculating their greenhouse gas emissions and measure the benefits of climate change mitigation projects.
"The Paris Agreement, adopted within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) in December 2015, commits participating all countries to limit global temperature rise, adapt to changes already occurring, and regularly increase efforts over time. GHG Protocol is developing standards, tools and online training that helps countries and cities track progress towards their climate goals."
Greenhouse Gas Protocol: About Us

"Greenhouse Gas Protocol: Standards
"The standards below are designed to provide a framework for businesses, governments, and other entities to measure and report their greenhouse gas emissions in ways that support their missions and goals.
"Corporate Standard
"The GHG Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard provides requirements and guidance for companies and other organizations, such as NGOs, government agencies, and universities, that are preparing a corporate-level GHG emissions inventory.
"Best for: Companies and Organizations
*
"Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Standard
"The Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Standard allows companies to assess their entire value chain emissions impact and identify where to focus reduction activities.
"Best for: Companies and Organizations
*
"GHG Protocol for Cities
"The Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventories (GPC) provides a robust framework for accounting and reporting city-wide greenhouse gas emissions.
"Best for: Cities and Communities"

Saxifrage: "When it comes to our exploding climate crisis, fossil fuels are the undisputed weapons of mass destruction."
Actually, there is a long history of dispute, which carries on today, thanks to the fossil fuel industry, its web of right-wing think-tanks, scientists-for-hire, as well as legions of fossil-fuel boosters and climate change deniers.

Saxifrage: "We now dig up 35 tCO2 per Canadian — seven times the current global average."
Obviously a function of Canada's relatively small population. Just thirty nations are responsible for 96% of global oil production. What is the "climate pollution" extracted per capita for Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, and Yemen?
Climate pollution per person is a bit of a red herring. Population size is irrelevant to fossil fuel production. Yes, America has nine times more people and produces 2.5 times more oil than Canada does. Hard to see how that makes Canada a worse climate villain.
Supply and demand need to be reduced at the same time. The most efficient tool (but not the only one) is carbon pricing. As long as fossil-fuel demand persists, fossil fuel producers will provide it. Cutting supply without reducing demand and providing more sustainable alternatives boosts energy prices — driving inflation and political instability, and compromising climate action.
This is not to excuse fossil fuel producers, who do everything in their power to perpetuate fossil fuels, protect profits, deny the problem, and sideline sustainable alternatives. But "climate pollution" extracted per capita hardly seems to be a relevant statistic. "Climate pollution" generated per capita as a function of energy and fossil fuel consumption seems far more important. Reduce demand, supply will follow.
If Scope 3 emissions are "caused by the use of your product", start at the consumer end.

Saxifrage: "We could also adopt successful policies used by our British and German peers who have made deep cuts in their climate pollution extraction. Both nations have reduced carbon extraction in their primary fossil fuel industries."
For decades, our "German peers" have become increasingly reliant on fossil fuels from Russia. We all know how that turned out. Making "deep cuts in climate pollution extraction" does not merit any gold stars if you increase your reliance on foreign producers.

Geoffrey, I'm not convinced of the validity of your statement:

_The most efficient tool (but not the only one) is carbon pricing. _

But, I suppose it depends on how one defines efficient. It's certainly the most straightforward, at a basic level. Have you got a reference that leads to that conclusion?

At the moment, I'm sitting in the "cap" camp; my doubt as to the efficacy of a carbon tax is based on Jevon's paradox, the indirectness of a tax viz the desired goal if eliminating fossil combustion, and my impression that the fossil industry seems to prefer a tax to a cap. With carbon taxes, consumption could still rise.

"Efficient" implies the scheme cuts the most emissions at the least cost and effort (to government and the economy).
"Efficient" further implies that the scheme is most visible and immediate in its effect to the consumer. Carbon pricing is immediately visible to the consumer with nothing else (no intermediary steps) getting in the way.

The Jevons Paradox refers to an increase in efficiency in resource use that generates an increase in resource consumption rather than a decrease — because the cost of consumption per unit falls. Carbon pricing does not make fossil fuel combustion or consumption more efficient. Carbon pricing increases the cost of consumption per unit. Carbon pricing does not encourage consumers to burn more fossil fuels.

Carbon reduction pricing schemes either make carbon more expensive or make alternatives more appealing (cheaper) via subsidy. The most direct way to make carbon more expensive is to raise the price (producers and) consumers pay. The alternative to pricing schemes is regulation, which usually dictates solutions (picking winners --> failed schemes) rather than letting consumers and businesses decide for themselves.

For example, an incrementally rising carbon fee and dividend (CFD) is more efficient than handing out EV subsidies to well-off individuals who drive. The costs of CFD are limited to program administration plus indirect income costs (labor income losses for oilpatch workers, potential investment income losses for people who own shares in fossil fuel companies). All revenues are returned to the province of origin. Hence, revenue neutral. (Where the carbon fee is not returned, the scheme can be made revenue neutral with reductions in taxes elsewhere.)
EV subsidies target mainly affluent households which do not require subsidies and would probably buy an EV anyway. If those dollars were aggregated and spent instead on public transit, they could reduce far more emissions. EV subsidies do nothing to address the needs of non-drivers. On the contrary, EV subsidies divert resources from public transit.

To be efficient, carbon pricing needs to exceed a certain threshold. A carbon price set too low (as now) is ineffective. If overnight the price at the pump rises to $1000 per litre, consumption will virtually cease, because few are able and willing to pay that price. Thus, very efficient. But such a dramatic change would cause chaos and be politically unacceptable.

The first strike against carbon pricing is that it is too slow. By itself, incremental carbon pricing will not shift the market fast enough away from fossil fuel use. Hence, the need for (industry and consumer) regulations, which are more expensive, but politically more acceptable, because unsustainable fuels, goods, and practices are simply eliminated at the source (coal plants), taken off the market (ICE cars), and resulting higher costs are less visible to the consumer.
The second strike against carbon pricing is that too high too fast is politically unacceptable. As we see, (low-info right-wing) voters protest against the carbon "tax" despite rebates that put most households ahead (on fiscal basis only).

Cap and trade schemes tend to be overly complicated, non-transparent, and subject to manipulation:

[Ontario's] premier, Kathleen Wynne, announced Monday the province would be joining Quebec and California in imposing caps on carbon emissions, allowing firms to buy the right to emit a certain amount and sell any unused permits on the market—a system known as "cap and trade."
This is one form of carbon pricing; the more familiar carbon tax is the other. Conceptually they’re more or less identical: both result in a higher price for carbon and a lower quantity produced. But in practice they work very differently, and it’s not hard to see why Wynne, like most politicians, favours cap and trade. Carbon taxes are visible to consumers, where the impact of cap and trade tends to be buried in the final prices of things. Carbon taxes typically apply across the board, whereas cap and trade is most easily applied to a relatively small number of large emitters.
And that’s where the trouble starts. Not only does that narrow the scope for reducing emissions, but it invariably opens the way for business to lobby for special treatment. Wynne didn’t reveal any details of her plan, but if it’s anything like Quebec’s a few pet industries (cough, autos, cough) will be spared their share of the burden via a boatload of free emissions credits.
Andrew Coyne: Provinces’ cap-and-trade deal makes climate change comedy even worse, 04.12.2015

"In theory, carbon pricing is not essential, but the alternative, regulation, is cumbersome. Regulations such as those that limit car emissions can work. But such rules depend on the whim of government, and under the Conservatives at least, federal regulation was ineffectual in meeting targets.
"Economists insist that carbon pricing is the only practical and efficient way to share the cost of fighting climate change fairly across all parts of the economy. Enacting those rules will release the power of business, allowing it to earn a profit by finding ways to cut GHGs.
"…Critics, incl former CIBC chief economist Jeff Rubin, have roundly criticized cap-and-trade systems, calling them a 'cash grab' that lets governments adjust the rules to take pressure off their favourite industries.
"Canada's climate plan is fractured and inadequate: Don Pittis" (CBC News Nov 09, 2015)

"The European Union Emissions Trading Scheme represents the world’s most ambitious attempt to implement a greenhouse gas cap-and-trade system. The scheme has not had a happy history. Generous credit allocations to member states led to an over allocation of emission allowances in the first phase, causing the price of carbon to plummet. The result was windfall profits for firms, even as emissions increased.
"In its second phase, the global recession dampened emissions, leading once more to a credit over-allocation. Again, the result was a collapse in carbon price. European opposition to the scheme comes mainly from environmental groups criticizing its ineffectiveness, and the large corporate profits created by the poorly designed carbon market."
Kenneth P. Green and Ben Eisen, "Green, Eisen: The problem with putting a price on carbon", Calgary Herald March 16, 2012

"the fossil industry seems to prefer a tax to a cap"
Industry prefers the current scheme because for competitive reasons the pricing scheme on emissions-intensive, export-oriented industries includes exemptions that effectively shield large emitters from significant carbon costs. Large fossil fuel companies pay pennies on the dollar. The consumer carbon price is too low to put a significant dent in industry profits.

“Carbon pricing does not encourage consumers to burn more fossil fuels.”

Carbon pricing encourages – to a degree -- consumers to need less to satisfy a specific need. Full stop. (Buying less might result from either needing less or buying an alternative).

1. JEVON’S PARADOX
“The Jevons Paradox refers to an increase in efficiency in resource use that generates an increase in resource consumption rather than a decrease — because the cost of consumption per unit falls.”

It’s not the cost per unit of a resource, it’s the cost/benefit per unit, the benefit being increased through more efficient use.

Two examples. Weekend cottage and Amazon deliveries. Numbers are rigged for the purpose. (One can also certainly refer to Jevon’s original example with coal).

1. Cottage
Say I have a cottage 100km from my primary residence. Sadly, I can only justify going there once a year because my ancient, Chrysler land yacht uses 50 litres of gas, at $2.00 per, for a round-trip.

Per trip/Annual usage: 50 litres.
Per trip/Annual cost: $100.

To the rescue comes an inheritance from a rich auntie and, deciding that I want to enhance my tree hugger cred – and get to my cottage more often, I buy a Prius. Sadly, the price of gas has risen to $3.00 per litre (>$1.00/litre carbon tax!!)

No matter.

My new car requires only 10 litres for the roundtrip. So…

Per trip usage: 10 litres
Per trip cost: $30.

Well, I say… now I can justify to myself cottaging once per month.

Annual usage: 120 litres.
Annual cost: $360.

The Amazon example would be similarly formulated in terms of cost/benefit in per delivery terms, only a lot larger scale for obvious reasons.

2. PROBLEMS WITH CARBON TAXES
I would add a third problem, related but in addition to what you’ve already pointed out.

I don’t think it is yet known the effect of a certain absolute or percentage increase in carbon taxes on consumption of gasoline. (Though, I believe that traditional wisdom says that consumption is quite inelastic; people will continue to pay – and buy SUVs and F-150s -- whatever price.) So, the tax man will be creating market uncertainty with regular adjustments to tax rates -- quoting an old prof, "going up and down like a prostitute's pants" -- until, finally, consumers wave the white flag. As you say, there might be quite a lag.

3. PROBLEMS WITH CAP
There are certainly challenges to be overcome but human systems are only as complex as we choose to make them.

Ultimately, however, it is my belief that a cap is the only way – short of aliens arriving and providing us with a silver bullet -- to be sure of lowering emissions.

DEFRA in the UK completed a pre-feasibility study, in 2008, looking at a personal carbon allowance. This study is referred to in a 2021 article in Nature that revisits the PCA idea. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41893-021-00756-w (happily available for download).

As stated in the article, “In its original design, the allowance could cover around 40% of energy-related carbon emissions in high-income countries, encompassing individuals’ carbon emissions relating to travel, space heating, water heating and electricity.”

I think, without evidence, that the largest challenge to a domestic cap (setting aside cross-border considerations) will be splitting the pie, first, between personal and corporate sectors, and, second, the further distribution of the commercial share. Will we necessarily get to the point of regulated opportunity-costing emissions allocations? With crypto-mining in mind, we may be heading for such an outcome regarding electricity consumption; unless one believes in the tooth fairy and an infinite energy supply.

The book “Hot Air: Meeting Canada's Climate Change Challenge” spent quite a bit of time on the topic of who gets/needs subsidies and other topics which got the authors’ eyes rolling.

Mr Saxifrage didn’t offer any direct arguments as to the value of his chosen statistical comparisons, nor even the value of Scope 3 emissions, beyond stating numbers and pointing fingers.

Canada vs the “Big Five” in Scope 3 per capita emissions.

(Note than I am responding only with oil statistics, not all fossil fuels)
1. So, the United States has about ½ as much scope 3 emissions as Canada. And that is important because ... ???? The USA nonetheless remains the globe’s largest producer of oil and the 3rd largest net importer of oil.
https://www.iea.org/reports/key-world-energy-statistics-2021/supply#oil

The USA (14.7t) is only slightly below Canada (15.4t) in per capita CO2 emissions (which do not include, to my knowledge, foreign Scope 3 emissions for locally extracted oil).

(note: 2019 data. https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/EN.ATM.CO2E.PC?most_recent_value_de...)

2. Japan has no fossil fuel extraction of note, so it is no surprise that their scope 3 emissions are effectively zero. Japan is, nonetheless, the 4th largest global importer of oil. Their CO2 emissions, per capita, are 8.5t. All of those would necessarily be Scope 3 emissions for some other countries.

The author may as well have compared Canada’s production of maple syrup to that of Antarctica. It is almost as meaningless.

3. I further note, just to add another tablespoon of whatsthepoint, that the author chose not to include other leading oil exporters (Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, UAE) in the chart. My guess? One of more would have knocked Canada from top position.

4. The inclusion of a “global average” is even more perplexing. Is this the global average of all nations, whether or not the produce and/or export fossil fuels? The author doesn’t define “global” in this chart.

“We now dig up 35 tCO2 per Canadian — seven times the current global average. And we aren’t planning to stop there.” Oh, I can feel my outrage building!

Scope 3 emissions, as a source of outrage, in my view, are simply a distraction. As the seemingly Johnny-Come-Lately source of perceived activist leverage, I think they’re not as powerful as some seem to believe. Whether fossils are extracted for local or overseas combustion doesn’t matter.

Absolutely, let’s get outraged over Canada’s alacrity vis-à-vis expanding fossil production, not to mention our leading carbon-villain status; but let’s not kid ourselves regarding how much political will resides in the primary national parties to actually effect change.