Tuesday, July 1, 2014

A Not So Happy Canada Day for the Environment

Under Harper's Conservatives, Canada has amassed a lamentable rap sheet of environmental abuses. In addition to failing to meet its GHG reduction commitments the ruling Canadian government has gutted environmental oversight, expanded dirty energy exploitation, killed environmental dissent, silenced climate scientists, withdrawn from the Kyoto protocol and from UN efforts to combat desertification. The Conservatives have even used Canada's intelligence services to spy on peaceful environmental groups.

A Washington-based group, the Center for Global Development, ranked Canada 27th on the environment out of the world's wealthiest 27 countries. Even China the world's largest carbon emitter is improving while Canada continues its downward spiral.

A 2013 national Environics Institute telephone poll in partnership with the David Suzuki Foundation found that public confidence in government as the lead actor in addressing climate change has declined from the 59 percent in 2012 to 53 percent in 2013.

Canada is as obstructionist on the world stage as the Republicans are in US domestic politics. Under the Conservatives Canada has ignored calls to develop a climate policy and accrued a woeful record on emissions per capita, and the development of renewable energy.

Canada has been warming at roughly double the global average over the last six decades and a bad situation is destined to get far worse. According to a Canadian government report, a wide range of flora and fauna have already been negatively affected by the warming trend in Canada.

A federal report submitted to the UN in December 2013 says that in the absence of oil sector regulation Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions will rise sharply after 2020. Canada’s emissions will be 734 megatonnes by 2020, a 5 percent increase from 2011 or 20 percent higher than the target of 612 megatonnes. By 2030 the nation is expected to emit 815 megatonnes, or 33 percent more than its current 2020 target. Emissions from the oil and gas sector will soar by 23 per cent between 2005 and 2020, and by 48 per cent by 2030. The growth of the tar sands are expected to grow Alberta’s emissions by 40 percent between 2005 and 2030, while almost every other province are predicted to see declining levels of emissions.

Carbon intensity has been steadily growing in the tar sands, since at least 2005. From 2005 to 2011, production of bitumen rose 64 percent and the associated emissions of CO2 went up 76 percent. Bitumen production is on course to rise by another 90 percent between 2011 and 2020, and its CO2 emissions will grow even faster, by 105 percent, it forecast. According to the IMF, the ruling Conservatives provide nearly $800 per Canadian in subsidies to the fossil fuel industry.

Canada, the seventh-largest emitter and per-capita emissions in the country are only exceeded by Australia, the US and Saudi Arabia among large polluters.

As reported by Foreign Policy in July last year: "Since the Conservative Party won a majority in Parliament in 2011, the federal government has eviscerated conservationists, indigenous nations, European commissioners, and just about anyone opposing unfettered oil production as unpatriotic radicals. It has muzzled climate change scientists, killed funding for environmental science of every stripe, and in a recent pair of unprecedented omnibus bills, systematically dismantled the country’s most significant long-cherished environmental laws."

It is important to note that Canadian Conservatives have not always been so belligerent and backwards on environmental policy. One Conservative Canadian government even led the world on the battle against acid rain.

© 2014, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

Related Articles
Historic Canadian Supreme Court Ruling Dis-Empowers Fossil Fuel Industry
A Not So Happy Canada Day for the Environment
Good News for the Environment on Canada Day
Canadian Conservatives Undermine Democracy and Environmental Protections
Canada's Conservatives Downgrade Humpback Protection to Move Forward with the Northern Gateway Pipeline
The Merits of Carbon Pricing in B.C.
Top Canadian Environmental Defense Issues in 2013
Harper Government's Tragic Environmental Record is Cause for National Shame
The Tar Sands Have Higher Emissions Profiles than Previously Thought
Increases in Tar Sands Production Will Guarantee the Worst Impacts of Climate Change
The Tar Sands and IEA's Three Climate Change Scenarios
Scientists and Activists Hold US Press Conference on Conservatives' Tar Sands Agenda
Canada's Ruling Conservatives at War with Science
Canadian Conservatives Cut Research Funding but Spend on Fossil Fuel Pipeline
Taxpayers Money to Promote Fossil Fuels Brought to you by Canada's Ruling Federal Conservatives
Canadian Government Uses Security Agencies to Target Environmental Opposition
Canadian Energy Espionage in Support of the Tar Sands
Video - The Tar Sands Give Canada the Worst Climate Record in the Western World
Canadian Implications of Obama's National Climate Strategy

No comments: