Canada oil sands CO2 emissions hugely underestimated: study

Environment Canada scientists took atmospheric measurements and found oil sands CO2 emission intensities up to 123 percent highe
Environment Canada scientists took atmospheric measurements and found oil sands CO2 emission intensities up to 123 percent higher than current estimates

Canada's oil sands CO2 emissions are significantly higher than indicated by industry data collected using internationally recommended methods, according to a study published Tuesday.

Environment Canada scientists flying over the region took atmospheric measurements and found CO2 intensities up to 123 percent higher than current estimates.

Their findings were published in the journal Nature Communications.

"This leads to 64 percent higher annual GHG emissions from surface mining operations, and 30 percent higher overall oil sands GHG emissions (17 Mt) compared to that reported by industry, despite emissions reporting which uses the most up to date and recommended bottom-up approaches," said the study, referring to .

The current method of calculating emissions uses a combination of ground measurements based on fuel usage and mathematical modelling.

This includes emissions from mining, processing, upgrading and tailings ponds.

Because similar reporting methods are used across the entire oil and gas sector, the scientists concluded that all oil and gas CO2 emissions data "may be more uncertain than previously considered."

It also throws a wrench in the government's climate strategy.

Canada agreed under the Paris agreement to reduce its CO2 emissions by 30 percent by 2030, from to 2005 levels.

The vast oil region in northern Alberta contains the world's third-largest oil reserve and is the single largest polluter in the country.

Despite shedding jobs and struggling with low oil prices over the past four years, the sector remains a top economic contributor.


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More information: John Liggio et al. Measured Canadian oil sands CO2 emissions are higher than estimates made using internationally recommended methods, Nature Communications (2019). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-09714-9
Journal information: Nature Communications

© 2019 AFP

Citation: Canada oil sands CO2 emissions hugely underestimated: study (2019, April 24) retrieved 18 October 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-04-canada-oil-sands-co2-emissions.html
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Apr 24, 2019
Co2 emission all over the GLOBE is Hugely underestimated, We need alternative energy NOW, Oil need to be Eliminated Entirely ! ! ! !

Apr 24, 2019
CO2 is not a poison.

Apr 24, 2019
We'll still need 80% of the current oil consumption after all the green is implemented.

Apr 24, 2019
Geoengineering will be implemented, because it's politically controversial, probably in secret, like the Manhattan project was. Watch for skyrocketing CO2, without warming.

Apr 25, 2019
CO2 is not a poison.

You must be the dumbest individual on 2 legs, CO2 emissions released by the billions of TONNES Via Humans is BEYOND devastating. Far worse than any Poison in existence numb nuts !

Apr 25, 2019
Human Induce climate change is worsening because of fossil fuels ! ! ! !

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