The neoliberal bargain that underpinned Canada’s ‘climate policy’–allow tar sand to expand and ship the world’s dirtiest oil to market overseas through the TransMountain pipeline–has now been shot out of the water. Our climate emissions are now nowhere near adequate to meet the IPCC report requirement of keeping emission below 1.5 degrees C to prevent global ecocide. Write to your MP and demand action!
Air samples taken over northern Alberta operations suggest previous figures could be way off
Operations in Alberta’s oilsands may be emitting significantly more carbon dioxide than previously calculated, according newly published research from federal scientists. (Getty Images)
A number of major oilsands operations in northern Alberta seem to be emitting significantly more carbon pollution than companies have been reporting, newly published research from federal scientists suggests, which could have profound consequences for government climate-change strategies.
The researchers, mainly from Environment Canada, calculated emissions rates for four major oilsands surface mining operations using air samples collected in 2013 on 17 airplane flights over the area.
In results published today in the journal Nature Communications, the scientists say the air samples from just those surface mining operations suggest their carbon dioxide emissions are 64 per cent higher, on average, than what the companies themselves report to the federal government using the standard United Nations reporting framework for greenhouse gases.
It means that Canada’s total greenhouse gas emissions would be around 2.3 per cent higher than previously thought. And if research eventually shows that other oilsands sites are subject to similar underreporting issues, Canada’s overall greenhouse gas emissions could be as much as six per cent more than thought — throwing a wrench into the calculations that underpin government emissions strategies.
Accurate estimates of anthropogenic or human-generated greenhouse gases “inform national and international climate policies,” the researchers write. “Such anthropogenic GHG emission data ultimately underpin carbon pricing and trading policies.” MORE