Oilsands and climate commitments clash: Report

CALGARY — In a new report, the Pembina Institute says there is a rise in greenhouse gas emissions from Canada’s oilsands, the conflict with the country’s 2030 and 2050 climate commitments, and how governments and industry can help ensure the sector remains competitive as it improves carbon performance. 

The oilsands in a carbon-constrained Canada: The collision course between overall emissions and national climate commitments says that while industry has worked toward decreasing the emissions intensity of its products, overall emissions are rising, making the sector the fastest-growing source of emissions in the country.  

“The global problem of climate change is too complex for any of us to solve alone,” Simon Dyer, Executive Director, Pembina Institute

“We urgently need to work together to prepare Canada to compete in a low-carbon economy. That includes a fact-based discussion about the role of the oilsands, which is the fastest-growing source of emissions in Canada. We need a constructive and thoughtful conversation – let’s not shy away from it.”

In The oilsands in a carbon-constrained Canada, the Pembina Institute includes detailed  recommendations for the federal and Alberta governments, and industry, to ensure the oilsands sector decreases its absolute emissions in line with Canada’s climate commitments and remains competitive in a decarbonizing, 21st-century global economy:

  1. Establish strong regulations to decarbonize the industry;
  2. Define and enforce sector emissions targets for 2030 and 2050, with five-year increments;
  3. Support an innovation ecosystem to deliver breakthrough technologies, funded by industry;
  4. Improve emissions monitoring and reporting to produce coherent data and enhance transparency;
  5. Appoint transparent and independent energy regulators both federally and provincially, with the mandate to enforce regulations and capacity to follow through.

Carbon emissions from the oilsands sector are said to be the fastest-growing source of emissions in Canada.

The Pembina Institute says edspite improvements in carbon intensity, absolute carbon emissions from the oilsands continue to increase overall and could represent 22 per cent of Canada’s carbon budget in 2030.

Benjamin Israel, Senior Analyst, Pembina Institute said although the carbon intensity of the oilsands has decreased in the past decades, overall carbon emissions from the sector continue to increase.

“Meeting national climate commitments comes down to a question of drastically reducing absolute emissions. The oilsands’ competitiveness will depend on the ability to rapidly implement meaningful policy changes and deploy breakthrough innovation – beyond incremental improvements – that will dramatically lower Canada’s oilsands emissions intensity to the low end of the global oil supply curve.”

Syncrude 2019“Syncrude 2019” by jasonwoodhead23 is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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