Emissions from Tar Sands Will Dwarf Carbon Cuts in Canada


Carbon dioxide emissions from the exploitation of Alberta’s tar sands will far outweigh emissions reductions in other sectors of Canada’s economy and will be a major contributor to the country missing its 2020 targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new report.

Environment Canada, the country’s chief environmental agency, said that the tar sands development — which injects steam into thick oil deposits to produce oil — will produce 62 million metric tons of CO2 emissions from 2005 to 2020, more than offsetting 31 million metric tons in CO2 reductions as Canada’s power plants switch from burning coal to natural gas.

Another analysis by Canada’s Pembina Institute estimates that by 2020 Alberta’s tar sands will account for 12 percent of Canada’s total CO2 emissions, a major reason why Canada will exceed its 2020 CO2 emissions reductions target by 178 million metric tons.

Industry officials said, however, that the Environment Canada and Pembina reports overestimate future CO2 emissions from the tar sands because new technologies being employed there will help reduce emissions in the coming years.

Article appearing courtesy Yale Environment 360.



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