Report: Canada Lags on Environmental Performance

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Canada came in at 15th place out of 17 developed nations on environmental performance, followed by the US (16th) and Australia (17th), according to a...

 

Canada came in at 15th place out of 17 developed nations on environmental performance, followed by the US (16th) and Australia (17th), according to a new report from The Conference Board of Canada.

The nations in the study were analyzed based on fourteen indicators across six dimensions: air quality, waste, water quality and quantity, biodiversity and conservation, natural resource management and climate change and energy efficiency.

Why did Canada get a 'C'? Len Coad, a director of the Board, says it's “Our large land mass, cold climate and resource-intensive economy make us less likely to rank highly on some indicators of environmental sustainability, but many of our poor results are based on our inefficient use of our resources.”

Not to mention, a number of other poor metrics. Canada produces more garbage per person than any other country in the study—most of which is not recycled material. Canadians also use almost twice as much water as other nations on the list, the only country to use more than the US.

Due to the country's high exports of oil and natural gas, it ranked 15th in terms of greenhouse gas emissions per capita. Coming in last on energy intensity, the country's cold climate and large size is mostly to blame. On the other hand, the country has done a good job of significantly increasing its use of renewable energy sources, with nearly 78 percent of the electricity coming from low-emitting sources, including hydroelecric and nuclear power.

“The Conference Board’s overarching goal is to measure quality of life for Canada and its peers. But a country must not only demonstrate a high quality of life—it must also demonstrate that its high quality of life is sustainable,” according to the report. “Canadians understand that protecting the environment from further damage is not a problem for tomorrow, but a challenge for today. Without serious attention to environmental sustainability, Canada puts its society and its quality of life at risk.”

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Read More in Energy Digital's December/January Issue

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