A new report from a group of environmental groups says the federal government is not only failing to protect Canada’s environment but is encouraging more oil and gas exploration, which is polluting the air and water.
The report from the Environment Canada Environmental Integrity Institute said the government is using “a broad definition of ‘environmental damage,’ including damage caused by the development of oil and natural gas exploration and development.”
“When you look at what’s being done, the definition of the term ‘environmentalist’ is pretty broad,” said the report’s author, David Kowalski, a professor at Dalhousie University.
The government has taken a lot of flak for its response to the climate change crisis, with environmentalists arguing the country should focus on tackling carbon emissions instead of trying to tackle climate change.
But Kowilski said the Conservative government has “done a lot” to help the environment and the report suggests there’s room to improve on that.
“What we’ve seen is that the government has made a lot more progress than it might have,” he said.
The study found the government’s decision to phase out coal-fired power plants, including the largest in the world, has cost Canadians a significant amount of money.
The cost of CO2 emissions from power plants has risen from $12.6 billion in 2008 to $26.4 billion in 2017, the report said.
It said in the last decade, power plants in Canada have been responsible for more than $1.2 billion in pollution.
“We don’t have a lot to show for this investment.
We’ve just been doing this for a very long time,” Kowulski said.
He said the cost of climate change is getting worse, but there’s no reason to think that won’t get better.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that we’ll get there.
I think that we’re headed there, I think it’s a very big leap,” he added.
Kowulskis report says Canada has the best environmental record in the G7, but Canada’s performance has declined in the past five years, with the rate of carbon pollution from power generation going up.
The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers says the number of coal-powered power plants was at a 20-year low in 2014 and now sits at about 7,000.