Canadian advocates and experts hosted a press call today to release a new backgrounder from Environmental Defence Canada -- "Mitigating climate impacts of the tar sands: political and policy barriers to greenhouse gas reduction in Canada" -- and discuss the unlikelihood of successful mitigation. Danielle Droitsch, Canada Program Director at NRDC said, "America's shrinking coal emissions are a stark contrast to the rapidly expanding tar sands industry which is dragging down any Canadian hopes of being part of a climate solution. By pushing for a dramatic expansion of tar sands oil development and the controversial Keystone XL pipeline to carry it, Canada will never meet its international climate commitments."
Dr. Mark Jaccard, Professor of Environmental Economics at Simon Frasier University and former chair of British Columbia Utilities Commission said, "Mitigation of Canada's increasing carbon pollution is incompatible with the Harper government's policy of unchecked oil sands expansion, which is driving their push for Keystone XL. The Canadian government has failed to reign in the skyrocketing emissions from this carbon intensive industry and we are now at a point where the only acceptable alternatives for the U.S. government to reject Keystone XL."
NRDC indicates that the tar sands are Canada's fastest growing source of greenhouse gas pollution, and if they continue to expand as government and industry project, they will cancel out every other effort across the country to mitigate emissions. Emissions from the tar sands are projected to double by 2020, which will send Canada soaring past the 2020 climate change target it shares with the United States. Models show that in order to curb soaring tar sands pollution and meet Canada's shared 2020 climate goal with the United States, regulations on the tar sands would have to establish a price on carbon of at least $100 per tonne. But that level of regulation -- or any meaningful regulation -- is highly unlikely.
NRDC said the Canadian government is well aware of the mounting pressure to limit carbon emissions. The government has been aggressive in its talking points, but passive in action. While they have made multiple public promises, no Federal regulations on emissions from the oil and gas sector have yet been proposed in Canada. This means that the tar sands sector is currently expanding without any attention given to soaring greenhouse gas pollution. Canada is currently on track to miss its international climate commitments by a wide margin that is greater than all of the carbon produced by the combined emissions of Canada's power plants or the combined emissions of all of Canada's passenger vehicles.
Dr. Danny Harvey, Climate Scientist at University of Toronto, "It will be very difficult for the Canadian government to achieve its own emissions reduction target for 2020 even without tar sands expansion, and more so if it continues to pursue tar sands expansion. In any case, deep reductions in overall emissions, beyond the 2020 target, will be required in the following decades that will be impossible to achieve if we lock in 40 years of increased tar sands emissions by building more pipelines." Due to political and policy barriers, it is highly unlikely that Canada would be able to mitigate the carbon emissions from the tar sands in order to meet President Obama's climate test for Keystone XL.
Access a release from NRDC with links to related information and the backgrounder on barriers to mitigating the climate impacts of the tar sands (click here). [#Energy/KXL, #Energy/TarSands, #Climate]