* Greenhouse gas emissions keep rising
* Report comes as Canada works to develop tar sands
* Canada portrayed as "bad guy" in energy-Senator
By David Ljunggren
OTTAWA, July 19 Canada will not be able to fully
benefit from huge resources of oil and natural gas unless the
energy industry improves its environmental record, a Senate
report concluded on Thursday.
The report, from the Energy Committee of the Senate, said
Canada should do more to persuade the world it was developing
its resources responsibly.
"Canada must demonstrate its commitment to mitigating
greenhouse gas emissions on a national scale," it said, adding
that firms working in the oil sands industry had to improve
their environmental performance.
Canada has the world's third largest proven reserves of
crude and the Conservative government wants to turn the nation
into an energy superpower.
But greenhouse gas emissions keep rising and look set to
spike even higher as development picks up in the oil rich tar
sands. Activists assail the Conservative government for not
doing more to protect the environment and Canada regularly wins
"Fossil of the day" awards from environmental groups.
"We're in this incredibly enviable position in Canada ...
but this is at great risk and to stay in this position a lot of
things are going to have to change," said David Angus, head of
the Senate's energy committee.
Ottawa is particularly keen to speed up development of the
tar sands, which contain 170 billion barrels of crude and are
the world's third-largest oil resource.
Angus, complaining about the fossil of the day awards,
grumbled that "Canada has been portrayed as the bad guy" when it
came to energy and the environment.
"It's kind of depressing... What we want to do is have the
Canadian brand celebrated and so we've got to clean up our act,
of course we do," he told a news conference.
The report will now be presented to the government for its
reaction. The Conservative administration will find it hard to
completely dismiss the document, since Angus and the majority of
senators are Conservatives.
Canada abandoned the Kyoto protocol on climate change last
year and committed instead to more modest cuts in emissions of
the greenhouse gases blamed for global warming. Booming
development in the oil sands means Canada may not meet even
these lower emissions targets.
Canada's reputation suffered another blow last week when
U.S. regulators savaged Enbridge Inc for the
way it handled a spill from an ageing pipeline in Michigan in
2010. There have already been several spills in Canada this
"This is old infrastructure and it needs to be upgraded,"
Angus said. "We built the pipelines originally and we were way
ahead of the curve. Now we've fallen behind and we have got to
get caught up and it is a serious problem for the country."
Environmental activists and aboriginal groups oppose an
Enbridge plan to build a 1,177-km (731-mile) pipeline from the
tar sands to the Pacific, from where it could be shipped to
China and other Asian markets.
Opponents say the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline is too
The office of federal Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver
was not immediately available for comment on the Senate report.