Canada must target energy sector to meet emissions goal

Wed Aug 8, 2012 5:28pm EDT
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By David Ljunggren

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada must do much more to meet its 2020 target for reducing greenhouse gases, given rising emissions as the energy sector develops the oil-rich tar sands of northern Alberta, government officials said on Wednesday.

Canada, the biggest single supplier of oil and gas to the United States, says it will cut output of greenhouse gases by 17 percent of 2005 levels by 2020, a goal that's far less stringent than the international targets Canada abandoned last year.

New figures released on Wednesday show that Canada is half way to meeting its own target. But emissions will rise steadily from now until 2020 unless more action is taken.

"Much work remains and we need everyone to stay on board so we can close the gap and reach our ultimate goal," Environment Minister Peter Kent told reporters.

"(We) will continue to work with our partners to address the remaining major sources of emissions ... our talks have progressed very quickly with the oil and gas sector -- both conventional and the oil sands."

Canada last year formally abandoned the Kyoto protocol on global warming, arguing that the treaty was unfair because it did not include major emitters like China and India.

Ottawa promised to introduce draft regulations on the oil and gas industries in 2013 and Kent said that target date still stood. He said he was planning discussions with the steel and cement industries.

The oil industry has said it cut emissions per barrel of oil produced by 26 percent in the past two decades. However, overall production is climbing at much faster rate, forcing total emissions higher.   Continued...

Canada's Environment Minister Peter Kent speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa June 5, 2012. REUTERS/Chris Wattie