Canada energy industry must improve green record: Senate report

Thu Jul 19, 2012 3:26pm EDT
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By David Ljunggren

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada will not be able to fully benefit from huge resources of oil and natural gas unless the energy industry improves its environmental record, a Senate report concluded on Thursday.

The report, from the Energy Committee of the Senate, said Canada should do more to persuade the world it was developing its resources responsibly.

"Canada must demonstrate its commitment to mitigating greenhouse gas emissions on a national scale," it said, adding that firms working in the oil sands industry had to improve their environmental performance.

Canada has the world's third largest proven reserves of crude and the Conservative government wants to turn the nation into an energy superpower.

But greenhouse gas emissions keep rising and look set to spike even higher as development picks up in the oil rich tar sands. Activists assail the Conservative government for not doing more to protect the environment and Canada regularly wins "Fossil of the day" awards from environmental groups.

"We're in this incredibly enviable position in Canada ... but this is at great risk and to stay in this position a lot of things are going to have to change," said David Angus, head of the Senate's energy committee.

Ottawa is particularly keen to speed up development of the tar sands, which contain 170 billion barrels of crude and are the world's third-largest oil resource.

Angus, complaining about the fossil of the day awards, grumbled that "Canada has been portrayed as the bad guy" when it came to energy and the environment.   Continued...