GHG 101 

Canada has 0.5 per cent of the world’s population and produces two per cent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Although CO2 is the primary man-made (anthropogenic) greenhouse gas, other greenhouse gases include methane, nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6).

Wells-to-Wheels CO2 Emissions

CO2 is emitted by the burning of fossil fuels for electricity generation, industrial uses, transportation, as well as for heat in our homes and commercial buildings. When it comes to transportation fuels, about 75 per cent of CO2 and other GHG emissions come from the combustion of the fuel by the end user. GHG emissions from combustion of gasoline in an automobile are the same regardless of the crude oil, light or heavy, from which the gasoline is derived. The remaining 25 per cent of GHG emissions result from the production, transport and refining of crude oil into gasoline, diesel and other fuels.

Measuring GHG emissions from the start of a product’s lifecycle through to its end use is called a life-cycle or wells-towheels analysis.

Wells-to-Wheels

Wells-to-Wheels analysis assesses total greenhouse gas emissions from crude oils. The full product life-cycle is considered from production (wells) to the use of the fuel in a vehicle (wheels).

Intensity

Oil sands crude is six per cent more GHG intensive than the U.S. crude supply average on a wells-to-wheels basis (CERA 2010).

What else affects transport GHG emissions?

The majority (about 75 per cent) of oil-related GHG emissions come from vehicle use, not exploration or production. The chart below shows that shifting from a midsize car to a compact car can reduce fuel consumption (and associated GHG emissions) by about 15 per cent, and shifting from a minivan to a compact car can result in as much as a 35 per cent reduction.

shifting from a midsize car to a compact car can reduce fuel consumption (and associated GHG emissions) by about 15%,

Canada’s Carbon Capture and Storage Strategy

CCS is a part of the greenhouse gas solution. The Federal and Provincial governments will invest approximately $3 billion to help in making Canada a global leader in CCS technology. Industry and government are cooperating to demonstrate the commercial and technical viability of CCS in Canada.

GHG Facts

  • Canada, with 0.5 per cent of the world’s population, produces two per cent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
  • The oil sands industry currently accounts for approximately 8.7 per cent of Canada’s total GHG emissions and 0.13 per cent of global GHG emissions.
  • Oil sands’ total GHG emissions in 2010 were 48 megatonnes, equivalent to 3.5 per cent of emissions from the United States coal fired power generation sector.
    * Environment Canada 2012

Wells-to-Wheels

Wells to Wheels analysis assesses total greenhouse gas emissions from crude oils. The full product life-cycle is considered from production (wells) to the use of the fuel in a vehicle (wheels).

CERA Report

"The most comprehensive measurement of GHG emissions is on a life-cycle, well-to-wheels basis."
- Cambridge Energy Research Associates

AERI Study

The Alberta Energy Research Institute (AERI) released a pair of reports by Jacobs Consultancy Canada Inc and TIAX LLC on the life-cycle analysis of North American and imported crude oils.

CAPP Commentary

Rising Demand, New Technologies and Broader Energy Mix Cornerstones of Global Energy Growth: CERA Report: Oil Sands Move from the “Fringe to Center” of Energy Supply