Ottawa’s Greenhouse Gas Policy Will Reward Tar Sands Companies for Polluting

I wrote about Canada’s fraudulent global warming plan in May, added some more data a week later, and then wrote an expanded article that Canadian Dimension magazine published in September.

The story just keepsw getting worse. A new analysis shows that the Harper-Baird plan will produce windfall profits for the worst greenhouse gas emitters in Canada. The following is adapted from a WWF news release, dated November 27. There’s a link to the full report at the bottom.


The booming tar sands industry may actually profit by up to $700 million from selling carbon credits while their global warming emissions dramatically increase.An analysis by the UK-based Tyndall Centre for Climate Research, commissioned by WWF, demonstrates this perverse outcome arises because the federal government’s proposed greenhouse gas limit for large industrial facilities is set at a level below what is attainable, and in some cases, below what has already been voluntarily committed to by industry.

The Tyndall Centre used published tar sands growth and greenhouse gas mitigation scenarios to assess the impact of the government’s proposed intensity-based regulation for Large Final Emitters, a key element of the Harper government’s current climate change plan.

Key findings include:

  • The government’s proposed requirements dampen but don’t reduce global warming pollution from the tar sands; emissions will grow between 112 per cent and 219 per cent by 2015.
  • The proposed slowing in emissions growth is in line with or less than what is expected in the absence of these government requirements and in some instances less than what has already been voluntarily committed to by industry.
  • The ability for companies to sell extra greenhouse gas reductions as carbon credits under the government’s proposed plan means that the windfall profit for tar sands companies could be in the order of $30 – $700 million, according to the report.
  • The cost of compliance with the government’s proposed requirements is expected to be minimal for tar sands companies, ranging from zero to a maximum eight cents per barrel.

“This is a plan in which it pays to pollute. Handing a cash bonus through carbon credits to the companies responsible for the fastest growing source of global warming pollution in Canada does not make sense for the health of the planet, or for Canada’s credibility on the world stage,” said Mike Russill, President & CEO of WWF-Canada and former oil industry executive.

“It’s time for the federal government to face the fact that intensity-based greenhouse gas reduction is not real reduction, and immediately revise the requirements for large industry to ensure emissions actually go down,” said Russill.

Download the report: Climate Change Policy and Canada’s Oil Sand Resources: An Update and Appraisal of Canada’s New Regulatory Framework for Air Emissions (PDF: 1.0 M)

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