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GOLDSTEIN: Limiting emissions in the oil and gas sector error: Report

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Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from Canada’s oil and gas sector, as planned by the Trudeau government, will increase the public cost of reducing greenhouse gases and reduce their effectiveness, according to a new Fraser Institute study.

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While emissions from oil and natural gas are the highest of all sectors of the economy, they account for only about 25% of Canada’s total emissions, study author William Watson says in the report. C02 is CO2 is CO2 – Implications for emission ceilings.

“Simply put, all CO2 (carbon dioxide) molecules are identical, regardless of their source,” Watson said. “So why is the federal government treating the oil and gas sector differently?

“The source of CO2 that causes greenhouse gases to build up in the atmosphere is environmentally irrelevant – the effect of each CO2 molecule is the same, regardless of its origin.”

With Prime Minister Justin Trudeau this year setting a national minimum price on carbon across the country at $50 per tonne of emissions, rising to $170 per tonne in 2030, Watson says his government should let the market decide where emissions can be reduced most efficiently and cheaply.

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While the oil and gas sector produced 203.5 million tonnes of Canadian emissions in 2019, or 27.6% of total emissions of 738 million tonnes, the transportation sector produced 185.5 million tonnes, or 25.1%; buildings 92 million tons or 12.5%; heavy industry 77.4 million tons or 10.5%; agriculture 66.7 million tons or 9%; electricity 61.8 million tons or 8.4% and waste and other 51.5 million tons or 7%.

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Watson is not arguing that the emissions cap should be placed on other sectors of the economy, but rather that the government’s planned cap for just the oil and gas sector should be removed.

This is because there may be less expensive and more effective ways to reduce Canadian emissions in other sectors of the economy compared to oil and gas, and the cap artificially distorts the market.

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