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Canada Greenhouse Gas Emissions Set to Rise, Government Says

Canada, the world’s seventh-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, will increase output of carbon dioxide through 2020, failing to meet a government pledge to lower emissions, Environment Canada said today.

Without further measures to curb carbon output, emissions will increase to 734 megatonnes by 2020 from 701 megatonnes in 2011, Environment Canada said today on its website. That would be little changed from 2005 output, which Prime Minister Stephen Harper has promised to cut by 17 percent by 2020 as part of the 2009 Copenhagen Accord.

The biggest contribution will come from the oil and gas industry, expected to boost emissions by 38 percent between 2005 and 2020, the government agency said. Federal and Alberta government officials are working with industry to set new rules to limit output.

“Canada is moving in the wrong direction on addressing greenhouse gas pollution,” said P.J. Partington, a climate policy analyst at the Pembina Institute, an environmental consultancy and research group. “The government has promised Canadians that pollution levels will drop, but Environment Canada is forecasting that they will increase.”

Suncor Energy Inc., Canada’s largest oil producer by market value, Cenovus Energy Inc. and competitors are using new technology to lower per-barrel emissions from oil sands operations even as absolute carbon output rises. Companies typically use mining techniques or underground steam injection to extract the fossil fuel from beneath the muskeg and boreal forests of northern Alberta.

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