Although many countries are setting ambitious carbon reduction targets, a few are still struggling to find ways to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Among G8 economies, Canada has the worst GHG record, and Environment Canada attributes Canada’s poor showing to large increases in oil and gas production.
Environment Canada says that carbon dioxide emissions rose to 747 million tons in 2007, up dramatically by 4 percent from 718 million tons a year earlier, and up 26 percent above their 1990 levels. Canada has violated the country’s Kyoto commitment to cut emissions by 6 percent; Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said that he never had any intention of honoring the agreement.*
The federal government blamed a cold winter and petroleum production for the rise in emissions, the fastest rise ever recorded in the Great White North. In fact, GHG from the mining, oil and gas extraction sector have risen by 57 percent over the period from 2004 to 2007. A Pembina Institute spokesman says that Canada’s emissions are likely to continue to rise, as the government has not announced any policies to confront the issue.
Canada’s poor performance could become a trade issue. The National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy recently suggested that Canada faces possible US trade sanctions if it doesn’t agree to a cap-and-trade program similar to that proposed by the Obama administration.
* In fact, Prime Minister Harper has described Kyoto as a socialist plot to suck money from rich countries.
Harper and Environment Minister Jim Prentice have muzzled Environment Canada scientists to keep our international failings quiet.