Report: Canada Lags on Environmental Performance
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.”
Major move forward for UK’s nascent marine energy sector
Although the industry is small and the technologies are limited, marine-based energy systems look to be taking off as “the world’s most powerful tidal turbine” begins grid-connected power generation at the European Marine Energy Centre.
At around 74 metres long, the turbine single-handedly holds the potential to supply the annual electricity demand to approximately 2,000 homes within the UK and offset 2,200 tonnes of CO2 per year.
Orbital Marine Power, a privately held Scottish-based company, announced the turbine is set to operate for around 15 years in the waters surrounding Orkney, Scotland, where the 2-megawatt O2 turbine weighing around 680 metric tons will be linked to a local on-land electricity network via a subsea cable.
How optimistic is the outlook for the UK’s turbine bid?
Described as a “major milestone for O2” by CEO of Orbital Marine Power Andrew Scott, the turbine will also supply additional power to generate ‘green hydrogen’ through the use of a land-based electrolyser in the hopes it will demonstrate the “decarbonisation of wider energy requirements.”
“Our vision is that this project is the trigger to the harnessing of tidal stream resources around the world to play a role in tackling climate change whilst creating a new, low-carbon industrial sector,” says Scott in a statement.
The Scottish Government has awarded £3.4 million through the Saltire Tidal Energy Challenge Fund to support the project’s construction, while public lenders also contributed to the financial requirements of the tidal turbine through the ethical investment platform Abundance Investment.
“The deployment of Orbital Marine Power’s O2, the world’s most powerful tidal turbine, is a proud moment for Scotland and a significant milestone in our journey to net zero,” says Michael Matheson, the Cabinet Secretary for Net-Zero, Energy and Transport for the Scottish Government.
“With our abundant natural resources, expertise and ambition, Scotland is ideally placed to harness the enormous global market for marine energy whilst helping deliver a net-zero economy.
“That’s why the Scottish Government has consistently supported the marine energy sector for over 10 years.”
However, Orbital Marine CEO Scott believes there’s potential to commercialise the technology being used in the project with the prospect of working towards more efficient and advanced marine energy projects in the future.
“We believe pioneering our vision in the UK can deliver on a broad spectrum of political initiatives across net-zero, levelling up and building back better at the same time as demonstrating global leadership in the area of low carbon innovation that is essential to creating a more sustainable future for the generations to come.”
The UK’s growing marine energy endeavours
This latest tidal turbine project isn’t a first for marine energy in the UK. The Port of London Authority permitted the River Thames to become a temporary home for trials into tidal energy technology and, more recently, a research project spanning the course of a year is set to focus on the potential tidal, wave, and floating wind technology holds for the future efficiency of renewable energy. The research is due to take place off of the Southwest coast of England on the Isles of Scilly