Toronto and Montreal – The governments of Ontario and Québec must protect their interests by challenging any special treatment for the tar sands, says a new report out today on global warming policy. The report, Divided We Fall: The Tar Sands vs. The Rest of Canada, shows that when the federal government sets an absolute cap on global warming pollution, other sectors across Canada will have to work even harder to meet it if the tar sands are given a break on its emissions.
“The threat of US trade action is forcing the Harper government to put a hard cap on global warming pollution,” said Gillian McEachern, Senior Energy Campaigner with ForestEthics. “Now the question is whether the system will be skewed against Ontario and Québec to protect the tar sands.”
The tar sands is the fastest growing source of emissions in Canada, with the federal government estimating a tripling of greenhouse gas pollution under a business-as-usual scenario. If this is allowed to happen with special treatment for the tar sands, it could mean that other sectors would have to make an additional 100 million tonnes of emissions cuts to compensate. To illustrate the magnitude of this concession, Québec’s entire greenhouse gas emissions amount is just over 80 million tonnes.
“The tar sands must make its fair share of emissions cuts just like the rest of the country,” said Matt Price, Program Manager with Environmental Defence. “It would be a recipe for division to let one part of the country burden everyone else just so that more dirty oil can be produced for export.”
After Alberta, Ontario and Québec produce the most global warming pollution in Canada and therefore have the most at stake. By developing their own progressive climate policies, both provinces have stepped into the regulatory void left by lack of federal leadership, but the fate of their provincial policies are up in the air as Canada moves to adopt a federal system to keep up with the United States.
“While Canada should join the ranks of other countries in fighting climate change and putting in place the foundations of a green economy, the Harper government is obsessed with tar sands, one of the worst energy sources for the environment,” said Hugo Séguin, Public Affairs Coordinator of Équiterre. “The tar sands are really holding the rest of Canada back.”
The report, co-written by Environmental Defence, ForestEthics, and Équiterre, calls for a fair cap and trade system where each economic sector and region is responsible for its fair share of emissions cuts, and where new green industries and jobs are created across the country.
Divided We Fall: The Tar Sands vs. The Rest of Canada is available to download for free at www.environmentaldefence.ca and www.forestethics.org/dividedwefall.    
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For more information or to arrange interviews, contact:
Gillian McEachern, ForestEthics, (416) 938-6032
Jennifer Foulds, Environmental Defence, (416) 323-9521 ext. 232; (647) 280-9521 (cell)
Eveline Trudel-Fugère, (514) 605-2000