Energy East pipeline poses climate challenge for premiers

New report shows how success of multi-province energy strategy depends on addressing oilsands expansion plans, including west-to-east pipeline

QUEBEC CITY — As Canada’s premiers meet in Quebec City to discuss climate change, a new report from the Pembina Institute outlines key considerations and challenges for provincial discussions of a Canadian Energy Strategy.

The oilsands sector is Canada’s fastest-growing source of carbon emissions. That means infrastructure proposals such as the Energy East pipeline have a significant impact on the federation’s ability to meet climate change objectives. for a multi-province strategy to be credible and effective, it must take the full emissions footprint of fossil fuel projects into account.

Crafting an Effective Canadian Energy Strategy reviews the progress some provinces have made to date with carbon pricing policies. The report provides recommendations for making the Canadian Energy Strategy effective, and for how the provinces can fill the leadership vacuum left by the federal government on climate change — including by reviving the work of the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy.

Quick facts

  • The crude production needed to fill Energy East could generate up to 32 million tonnes of carbon emissions each year. That is roughly equal to the emission reductions Ontario made by phasing out coal-fired power (31.6 million tonnes).
  • Annual carbon emissions are 68.8 tonnes per capita in Saskatchewan and 64 tonnes per capita in Alberta. By comparison, British Columbia and Quebec’s per-capita emissions are only 13.2 and 9.7 tonnes respectively.
  • Every $1 million invested in clean energy industries creates 15 jobs, compared with two jobs created by the same investment in oil and gas.


“Canada’s premiers have an opportunity to collaborate and provide leadership through a Canadian Energy Strategy. But to achieve shared climate objectives, the provinces will have to address carbon-intensive megaprojects and their consequences in terms of emissions.”
— Erin Flanagan, Analyst, Pembina Institute


Visit the Pembina Institute’s website to download a copy of Crafting an Effective Canadian Energy Strategy.