Government of Canada to Require New Oil Sands Operations to Implement Carbon Capture and Storage Starting in 2012
|Projected reductions in the future growth of greenhouse gas emissions based on the Turning the Corner Plan. Click to enlarge.|
The Government of Canada has published details of its regulatory framework originally announced on 26 April 2007 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The newly published requirements include setting a target that will require oil sands starting operations in 2012 to implement carbon capture and storage.
Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions—to which the oil sands industry is a major and growing contributor—currently are more than 25% higher than they were in 1990, putting Canada more than 32% above its Kyoto target. Without immediate action, Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions are projected to grow a further 24% by 2020 to reach about 940 megatonnes—58% above 1990 levels.
In addition to the restrictions on oil sands plant, the details of the plan will effectively ban the construction of coal-fired power plants starting in 2012. Utilities that want to build coal-fired plants in the future will be required to meet targets based on the use of advanced technologies, such as carbon capture and storage.
The basics of the Turning the Corner plan announced last April include establishing a market price for carbon; and setting up a carbon emissions trading market, including a carbon offset system, to provide incentives for Canadians to reduce their greenhouse gas emission. The government has committed to a 20% reduction in overall greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.
Our regulations will apply to all big industry. From the oil industry to chemical companies; from smelters to pulp and paper mills, all big industry will have to do their part.—Environment Minister John Baird
As announced last April, regulated industries will face mandatory reductions that require companies to reduce emissions 18% by 2010 for every unit of production and 2% thereafter. This requirement applies to oil sands facilities established before 2012.
The federal government will establish a task force to work with the provinces and industry to reduce emissions from power generation even further by 2020, through increased hydro, renewable and nuclear electricity production and through further development of the national grid. If necessary, regulations remain an option.
Proposed greenhouse gas regulations are expected to be published in the Canada Gazette later this year, and the regulations finalized in 2009 to come into force as planned on 1 January 2010.