LETTER: Fraser Institute’s study on Canada’s environmental performance is ‘fake news’

Greenhouse gas emissions have fallen back only slightly since 2000

Recently, the Fraser Institute released a study that stated Canada’s environmental performance was among the top 10 high-income countries in the world.

The report said previous studies depicting Canada as an environmental laggard used flawed methodology. The Institute said any of our country’s low rankings were unavoidable due to geography and climate or income distribution in wealthy countries.

In late 2017, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development published an economic performance review on Canada. Here are only some of the highlights:

Canada is the OECD’s second most energy-intensive economy (after Iceland). This reflects the country’s large heavy industry, particularly the extraction and processing of minerals and fossil fuels for export.

Canada is the OECD’s second most resource-intensive economy (after Chile).

Canada is the OECD’s second most carbon-intensive economy (after Estonia).

Greenhouse gas emissions in Canada have fallen back only marginally since 2000. Emissions fell in most sectors, but kept rising in the two largest: transport and the oilsands industry.

About 30% of Canadians live in areas where outdoor levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and/or ozone exceed national air quality standards, mostly in cities of Ontario and Québec. Outdoor air pollution was estimated to cause 7,800 deaths per year in 2015.

Household waste has increased by 30% since 2002, faster than population and GDP. Overall, nearly three-quarters of waste still end up in landfills.

Under the UN Convention for Biological Diversity, Canada committed to conserve at least 17% of terrestrial areas and inland water, and 10% of marine areas by 2020. In 2015, 10.6% of terrestrial areas and 0.9% of marine areas were protected.

By focusing only on statistics related to protecting human health and well-being, and protecting ecosystems, the Fraser Institute claims “Canadians enjoy high levels of environmental quality in absolute terms and in comparison to our OECD peers.”

I believe the OECD’s facts prove that the Fraser Institute is distributing “fake news”.

Michael Jessen,

Nelson

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