ARCHIVED - Canada: An Environmentally Responsible Energy Supplier to the World

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Backgrounder


Oil sands are comparable to other heavy crudes consumed in the European Union

  • Oil sands crude is a heavy crude oil with GHG emissions and chemical properties similar to those of other heavy crudes found and produced throughout the world and currently consumed in the European Union (EU).

Canada’s environmental regime is strong, transparent and independent

  • Canada is transparent in reporting the GHG emissions of oil sands crude — scientific research and data are regularly updated and made available to the public.
  • There is virtually no data from many countries that produce crude oils used in the EU. Scientific evidence of their actual GHG emissions is either unknown or not disclosed.
  • Even light crudes from some of these countries have a similar or higher GHG intensity than oil sands crude due to flaring and venting emissions, but — unlike Canada — they do not report it. 

The Canadian oil and gas sector is subject to world-class environmental requirements

  • By law, Canadian oil sands development projects must return the land to its natural state.
  • Canada is implementing a world-class, science-based air, land and water monitoring regime for the oil sands.
  • The oil sands represent about 0.1%, or one-thousandth, of global GHG emissions. A recent study estimated that if all the current commercially recoverable oil sands reserves were put into production, their impact on climate change would be approximately 3 one hundredth of 1°C in 300 years time.
  • Canada is developing regulations to reduce GHG emissions from the oil and gas sector — including the oil sands. Between 1990 and 2011, per barrel GHG emissions in the oil sands dropped 26%.

Canada has a strong and proud environmental record. Going forward, we have an ambitious environmental agenda.

  • Canada, in collaboration with environmental partners, has protected almost a million square kilometres of land, including habitat for at least 126 species at risk.
  • Canada has a GHG reduction target of 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020, aligned with the United States in an integrated North American market.  Current projections show that Canada is already halfway to meeting this target.
  • Our GHG regulations will significantly reduce emissions from cars and light trucks, heavy duty vehicles and coal-fired electricity. Canada is currently developing regulations that will apply to its oil and gas sector.

Canada’s oil sands will contribute to the world’s energy security for decades to come

  • The International Energy Agency (IEA) projects that global energy demand will increase by more than one-third by 2035. Significantly, the IEA also projects that in 2035 — even under its most optimistic scenario for the development of alternatives — the world will still rely on fossil fuels for 63% of its energy needs.
  • Holding the third-largest proven reserves in the world, Canada is a stable, reliable, democratic and environmentally responsible supplier of oil to the global market. 
  • Approximately 80% of the world’s oil reserves are controlled by national governments or state-owned oil companies. About 60% of what’s left — so-called “free enterprise oil” — is found in Canada’s oil sands.
  • As Fatih Birol, the Agency's Chief Economist, said recently, to meet projected demand for oil, the world will need “every drop” of growing production from Canada’s oil sands.