Alberta receives a "D-" grade on environment report card

OTTAWA, April 21, 2016 /CNW/ - With "D" or "D-" grades on most of the environmental performance indicators, Alberta ranks second-to-last on The Conference Board of Canada's How Canada Performs: Environment report card released on the eve of Earth Day. This is the first report card that compares the environmental performance of Canada, the provinces and 15 peer countries.

"Alberta emits higher levels per capita of greenhouse gases and air pollutants than most other countries and Canadian provinces. This is not surprising though given that the province is heavily reliant on fossil fuels to generate electricity, and that its economy is driven by resource industries," said Louis Thériault, Vice-President, Public Policy. "However, with climate change taking centre stage globally, Alberta and Canada must balance environmental priorities with economic growth."

GHG emissions, for the purpose of this research and by international convention, do not include emissions resulting from the consumption of fossil fuels produced in one jurisdiction but used in other jurisdictions.


  • Alberta scores a "D-" grade and ranks second-to-last among provinces, ahead of only Saskatchewan.
  • Alberta generates nearly 70 tonnes of GHG emissions per capita, over three times as much as the national average.
  • Canada as a whole gets a "D" grade on the environment report card and ranks third-to-last among the 16 peer countries.

Nine indicators were used to evaluate the environmental performance of Canada, the provinces and 15 peer countries. We evaluate the provinces on an additional indicator for which comparable international data are not available, waste generation.The indicators cover performance in four categories: air pollution, climate change, waste, and freshwater management.

Air pollution: Alberta does poorly on all indicators in this category. Alberta emits higher levels per capita of nitrogen oxides (NOx), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and particulate matter (PM10) than most of the 26 jurisdictions. The province ranks at the bottom of the pack, and scores "D-" grades on all three indicators. Alberta gets a "C" on sulphur oxides (SOx) emissions.

Climate change: Alberta receives "D-" grades on GHG emissions, low-emitting electricity production, and energy intensity.  Alberta's emission rate of nearly 70 tonnes CO2 equivalent per capita is six times as high as Quebec's rate, the top-ranked province on GHG emissions, and over three times as high as the national average. With only 5 per cent of Alberta's electricity coming from low-GHG-emitting sources, the province places last among all the comparator jurisdictions on this indicator.

Waste: Alberta is the lowest-ranked province when it comes to waste generation. With over 1000 kg of waste per capita, Alberta generates more than two times the amount of waste than Nova Scotia, the top-ranked province.

Freshwater management: Alberta earns its highest grade in the freshwater management category. The province gets its top grade, a "B" on the wastewater treatment indicator. On per capita water withdrawals, Alberta scores a "C".

How Canada Performs is an ongoing research program at The Conference Board of Canada to help leaders identify relative strengths and weaknesses in Canada's socio-economic performance. Six performance domains are assessed: Economy, Education and Skills, Innovation, Environment, Health, and Society.

Released today, and building on previous How Canada Performs analyses, the Environment report card is the fifth of six to be produced on Canadian and provincial socio-economic performance. To date, the Economy, Education and Skills, Health, and Innovation report cards have been published.

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SOURCE Conference Board of Canada

Video with caption: "Video: Spotlight on Canada's GHG emissions". Video available at:

Image with caption: "Environment report card for Canada and the provinces (CNW Group/Conference Board of Canada)". Image available at:

For further information: Yvonne Squires, Media Relations, The Conference Board of Canada, Tel.: 613- 526-3090 ext. 221, E-mail:; Juline Ranger, Director of Communications, The Conference Board of Canada, Tel.: 613- 526-3090 ext. 431, E-mail:


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