The Unsuitablog

Exposing Ethical Hypocrites Everywhere!

Alberta’s Carbon Emissions Go Missing

Posted by keith on February 18th, 2008

Carbon Intensity not Emissions

Whoops, there goes another statistic, out of the window before someone notices it’s gone. The Canadian Province of Alberta have a government that are particularly adept at this move, as I found to my annoyance when searching for some figures while researching my book.

It seemed simple enough: go and find out whether the carbon emissions of Alberta have gone up as result of the mining of oil sands in the Athabasca region. You might remember an article I published about this on The Sietch Blog and a little expose I did on Shell, on this very site not long ago – it’s pretty obvious from these that the emissions are bound to be going up. So what a surprise when I go to look for them, to find that the figures are missing, airbrushed from history to be replaced by the magical economic plaything called “Carbon Intensity” (or in Alberta’s case, Greenhouse Gas Intensity, just to make sure everything is neatly covered).

Apparently the quantity of greenhouse gases went down by 20% between 1994 and 2004, but only when compared to the huge amount of money Alberta is making from oil production; when you consider that Alberta’s Gross Domestic Product  went up by 3.6% per year in the same period  then you realise that, in fact, Alberta’s greenhouse gas emissions have actually gone up by 20%.

They don’t want you to know that, of course, and the Canadian Government are more than happy to let them get on with this, because Alberta is the big cheese, the top dog, the grand wizard of economic output:

“The federal government will receive 41 per cent of $123 billion of total government revenues from the oil sands”
(from CAPP, Industry Facts and Information)

Odd then that even the Government of Alberta say, on the very same page they banished the Carbon Emissions from:

“As greenhouse gases are added to the atmosphere, they contribute to the enhanced greenhouse effect, causing the increase in global temperature to take place at a faster rate than has ever been recorded. It is predicted that as temperatures continue to increase in the coming years, we will see more heat waves, floods, droughts and rising sea levels.”

When it comes to money versus life, then money always wins where politicians are concerned.

2 Responses to “Alberta’s Carbon Emissions Go Missing”

  1. Kyle Says:

    You can check the results for carbon emissions with Environment Canada, as they track large industrial emitters through the carbon registry. In 2006, oilsands accounted for about 30 megatonnes of GHG emissions, or just over 10% of Alberta’s totals, or the equivalent of two of Ontario’s Naticoke Coal power plants.

  2. Time’s Up! from the Inside : Chapter 6 - Keith Farnish at Chelsea Green Says:

    [...] the same chapter, based on my work for The Unsuitablog, I also showed how the Province of Alberta had been using similar statistical tricks (and these are [...]

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