Oilsands pollute more than BC and Quebec economies
Pollution from fossil fuels in Canada continues to grow by staggering amounts, with the oilsands sector alone responsible for more carbon pollution than all of B.C. or Quebec in 2017, says the federal government in its latest climate change report to the United Nations.
The newest edition of Canada’s National Inventory Report, covering data up to two years ago, shows that the oil and gas sector was responsible for 195 million tonnes, or megatonnes (Mt) of greenhouse gas emissions in 2017, up eight Mt from 2016.
The figures were compiled before the major elements of the Trudeau government’s plan to crack down on emissions, like its price on carbon pollution and its tightened regulations on coal-fired power plants and on methane leaks, have come into effect.
Canada and the rest of the world must reduce carbon emissions to "near zero" by "early in the second half of the century" in order to avoid more extreme warming from climate change that will create more floods, wildfires, ice and snow loss, loss of freshwater and damage to coasts and marine ecosystems, according to a major scientific report released this month.
The oilsands, a region in Alberta and Saskatchewan that constitute almost all of Canada’s 173 billion barrels of proven oil reserves, generated 81 Mt of pollution in 2017, making up 41 per cent of the sector’s emissions.
That is larger than all the pollution generated by the entire economies of British Columbia that year, at 62 Mt, or Quebec's at 78 Mt. It is also larger than emissions reductions that have been seen in other parts of the country.