07 February 2012

Alberta and Saskatchewan vie for pollution title

Alberta is generally considered to be Canada's pollution champion. And it deserves the honour. With 11 per cent of the country's population it contributes 34 per cent of the country's greenhouse gas emissions. Nonetheless, Saskatchewan can also make the claim. It only produces 7 per cent of the country's emissions, with 3 per cent of the population, but it is the big winner in per capita emissions with 71 tonnes of CO2 equivalent to Alberta's 64.

Industrial Ontario isn't even in the running. Despite having 40 per cent of Canada's population it produces a mere 24 per cent of the country's emissions. And its per capita emissions are an embarrassing 13 tonnes.

Alberta and Saskatchewan's advantages in the pollution sweepstakes include burning coal to provide 60 per cent of their electricity. Ontario, by comparison, relies on coal for only 7 per cent of its power, obviously a losing strategy. Alberta also owns the country's big ace in the hole—the tar sands. The tar sands are the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions in the country and will no doubt allow the province to eventually overtake Saskatchewan as per capita leader.

As for future prospects, my money is on Alberta all the way. With the tar sands in its corner, the province is already a world class competitor. In fact, if Alberta were a country, its per capita greenhouse gas emissions would be higher than any other country in the world. A champion indeed.

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