Toronto – A new poll released today by Environmental Defence shows that Canadians overwhelmingly reject the federal government’s recent announcement to let greenhouse gas emissions from the oil sands rise. 79% of Canadians polled said that oil sands emissions should be capped and then reduced, as opposed to 12% who think they should be allowed to exceed current levels to encourage economic growth. Albertans were similarly in favour by a margin of 81% to 12%.
“Ottawa continues to be out of step with the vast majority of Canadians who want real emissions reductions from the oil sands starting today,” said Matt Price, Project Manager with Environmental Defence. “Oil sands emissions growth continues to hold hostage people’s desire to tackle global warming in Canada.”
 
With no actual cap, the recent federal announcement estimates oil sands emissions will double by 2020, and only requires new facilities built after 2012 to capture an unspecified amount of carbon dioxide by 2018. Existing facilities or those built until 2012 can continue increasing their overall emissions while cutting emissions “intensity.”

The poll also showed Canadians and also Albertans favour a more active federal role in environmental management in the oil sands, even if it means more tensions with the Alberta government.  Nationally, 72% favoured this approach, while only 17% are opposed, and in Alberta 51% favoured and 43% opposed.

Finally, the poll shows Canadians, by a margin of 52% to 32%, favour a suspension of new approvals in the oil sands until environmental issues are resolved. Albertans favour a suspension by 48% to 40%.

The poll was conducted by McAllister Opinion Research, surveyed 1,014 Canadians March 7-March 10, and its findings are considered accurate within 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Environmental Defence’s recent report about the environmental effects of the oil sands, Canada’s Toxic Tar Sands: The Most Destructive Project On Earth, is available to download at www.environmentaldefence.ca

About Environmental Defence (www.environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence protects the environment and human health. We research solutions. We educate. We go to court when we have to. All in order to ensure clean air, clean water and thriving ecosystems nationwide, and to bring a halt to Canada’s contribution to climate change.
 
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For more information, or to arrange interviews, please contact:
 Jennifer Foulds at 416-323-9521 ext. 232; (647) 280-9521 (cell)