Greenhouse gas emissions: How can Canada cut 30% by 2030? Eliminating all cars for a year would only put a dent in carbon emissions

Mark Gollom
Shutting down the entire oilsands wouldn't be enough to get to the 2030 greenhouse gas reduction target set earlier this month by the federal government. (Mark Ralson/AFP/Getty Images)

When the federal government announced its plan to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, it gave little indication how it planned to do it, exactly.

Canada produced 749 megatonnes of greenhouse gas emissions in 2005, according to Environment Canada data. By cutting 30 per cent, the Conservative government is hoping to eliminate more than 200 MT a year.

So, just how doable is that?

Well, to put that amount into more relatable terms, cars, trucks and motorcycles were responsible for 88 MT of GHG emissions for 2013. Include bus, train and domestic flights in to the tally, and that's another 10. 

So, if the Conservative government was to take all the cars, buses, motorcycles and trains off the road for a year, they wouldn't even meet half their goal.