Released just days after the Conservative government announced a disappointing plan to restrict smog levels by 2010 and cut greenhouse gases in half by 2050, the Pembina study said companies already spend US$1.75 a barrel to remove lead from gasoline.
For just US $2.50 a barrel, according to the study, they could eliminate 100 per cent of greenhouse-gas pollution from tar sands, which are projected to contribute up to 47 per cent of the growth in Canada’s total emissions between 2003 and 2010 – making them the single-largest contributor to growth in greenhouse-gas pollution.
Failure to take action could render the oil-sands industry the main culprit in undermining Canada’s international climate-change obligations.
“The world is watching how Canada’s oil sands are developed,” said Marlo Raynolds, executive director of Pembina and co-author with Matthew McCulloch of Carbon Neutral by 2020: A Leadership Opportunity in Canada’s Oil Sands.
The report recommends a variety of solutions including energy efficiency, fuel switching, carbon capture and storage, and carbon offsets, with a detailed cost analysis of achieving carbon-neutral oil-sands production.
“It is both reasonable and achievable for an oil sands company to become carbon neutral by 2020,” Raynolds said. “Last week’s Clean Air Act announcement showed the federal government to be a laggard in tackling climate change.
“But this study indicates that oil sands companies have the opportunity to be leaders on this issue without waiting for governments to act.”