Canada’s carbon footprint is not just a step but a giant leap beyond what’s been claimed. A six-year study pulls back the curtain on the environmental debacle, revealing emissions rates that dwarf industry figures.
It may be unsurprising to learn that Canada’s oil and gas industry has been self-servingly underestimating carbon emissions from the tar sands, but the sheer scale of deception is stunning. According to a scientific study that’s been in the works over the past six years, emissions from the tar sands in northeastern Alberta are anywhere from 1,900 percent to 6,300 percent greater than what the industry has self-reported.
These findings directly contradict the Canadian government’s claim that tar sands oil, which requires a much more intensive process to extract crude oil from a mixture of water, sands, and heavy hydrocarbons, is no more emissions-intensive than any other type of oil.
Researchers from Yale University’s Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Environment and Climate Change Canada’s air quality research division, and Peking University’s College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, carried out the study. Published in the American Association for the Advancement of Science journal on January 25, this research is the second report in the past year to conclude that current emissions measuring methods only catch a fraction of the tar sands’ environmental toll.
For the most recent survey, which gathered data over four months in 2018, scientists undertook more than a dozen flights over tar sands mining facilities and drilling sites with carbon dioxide analyzers. This approach contrasts with the industry’s government-approved, ground-based measurements, which involve subsequent lab analysis.