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Canada performs poorly in environmental report

Staff writer ▼ | April 22, 2016
Canada and most of its provinces perform poorly on The Conference Board of Canada’s first How Canada Performs: Environment Report Card.
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Ecology   How Canada Performs: Environment Report Card
The reports compares the environmental performance of Canada, the provinces, and 15 peer countries. Overall, Canada gets a “D” grade and ranks 14th among the 16 peer countries, only the U.S. and Australia rank worse.

With 20.7 tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions per capita, Canada’s GHG emissions are very high compared to its peers; only the U.S. and Australia fare worse.

Most of Canada’s provinces also rank poorly on the overall environment report card: five provinces are at the bottom of the pack with “D–” grades.

The highest ranking province, Ontario, receives a “B” grade and places 11th out of 26 comparator regions.

Released on the eve of Earth Day, nine indicators were used to evaluate the environmental performance of Canada, the provinces and 15 peer countries. The indicators cover performance in three categories: climate change, air pollution, and freshwater management.

Canada receives “D” grades on two of the three climate change indicators: GHG emissions and energy intensity. With 20.7 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per capita, Canada’s GHG emissions are among the highest of the peer countries, only the U.S. and Australia fare worse.

While Canada has reduced its energy intensity by almost 30 per cent between 1995 and 2014, it still ranks second-to-last among the peer countries. Canada receives its only “A” for low-emitting electricity generation.

With nearly 80 per cent of Canada’s electricity being generated from low-emitting sources such as hydro and nuclear power, Canada does well on this indicator, but remains behind Norway, Switzerland, France, and Sweden.

Canada’s per capita performance on all four air pollution indicators improved between 1990 and 2014. Nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulphur oxides (SOX), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and particulate matter (PM10) emission rates have all dropped significantly over the past couple of decades.

However, Canada still has some of the highest per capita emission rates among its peers and receives two “D” grades (VOC and PM10 emissions,a “C” (NOx emissions), and a “B” (SOx emissions).

Canada is a middle-of-the-pack performer on the two freshwater management indicators. It gets a “B” and ranks 9th among the 16 peer countries on wastewater treatment and, similarly, gets a “B” grade on per capita water withdrawals, and ranks 10th out of 15 peers.


 

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