OTTAWA, Jan. 17, 2013 /CNW/ - Canada throws away more garbage per capita
than any other country in the developed world. That, combined with
heavy usage of energy and water, gives Canada a 'C' grade and a ranking
of 15th out of 17 countries in The Conference Board of Canada's How Canada Performs-Environment ranking.
Canada, Australia and the United States, the three lowest ranking
countries, share similar characteristics of large land area and
Several of Canada's dismal results are due to overconsumption.
Canadians use more than nine times the water per capita that Denmark
"Our large land mass, cold climate and resource-intensive economy make
us less likely to rank highly on some indicators of environmental
sustainability, but many of our poor results are based on our
inefficient use of our resources," said Len Coad, Director, Director, Energy, Environment and Technology Policy. "Canada
must promote economic growth without further degrading the environment.
Encouraging more sustainable consumption is crucial to achieve that
A 15th place ranking, the same as in 2009, place Canada ahead of only
Australia and the United States. These three countries are similar:
they are three largest countries in terms of land area, and they are
the most resource-intensive economies in the Organisation for Economic
Co-operation and Development.
Canada does show some excellent environmental results. Forests are
generally well-protected and well-managed. Air quality has improved
modestly, energy use per person is down and water quality is still
But several of Canada's dismal results are due to overconsumption. In
addition to generating the most waste, Canadians' water withdrawals are
nearly double the average of the other countries and are lower only
than the United States. And despite some improvement, Canadians are
still the largest users of energy in the developed world.
Waste: In 2009, Canada generated 777 kilograms of municipal waste per capita - the 17 country average was 578 kg. Most of the waste goes to
landfills or incinerators - of the 34 million tonnes generated in 2008,
26 million went there for disposal.
Energy: Canada's energy use is a mixed picture. Canadian greenhouse gas emissions per capita in 2010 earned a "D" grade, likely because of increased exports of
natural resources. Yet GHG emissions per capita fell by almost five per
cent between 1990 and 2010. Similarly Canada ranks 17th and last for the highest level of total energy consumption, but energy intensity decreased by almost 20 per cent between 1990 and 2009. And Canada
improved the share of its electricity produced by nuclear and renewable sources (mostly hydroelectric power)
from 72 per cent in 2000 to almost 78 per cent in 2011.
Air quality: Canada's performance on all four air quality indicators in this analysis
improved between 1990 and 2009. Yet, compared to most other countries,
Canada still emits higher levels per capita of nitrogen oxides, sulphur oxides, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
Water: At a glance, Canada enjoys abundant and safe water. For example, Canada
earns an 'A' grade for water quality and ranks 4th on this indicator. Yet, regions such as the Prairies, southern Ontario
and southern Quebec have water quality concerns, due in part to
municipal water discharges (still, despite upgrades, one of the largest
sources of pollution in Canadian waters). Furthermore, Canada's water withdrawals are nearly double the 16-country average, and Canadians use more than
nine times the water per capita that Denmark does.
Forest management: Canada is a top performer in its forestry practices. Canada gets an 'A'
grade and ranks second only to Japan on use of forest resources, and earns a 'B' grade for its change in forest cover between 2005 and 2010.
Biodiversity: Canada gets an "A' for the proportion of threatened species as a share of all species. Nevertheless, the number of species at risk
in Canada is increasing, although federal biodiversity action plans
have been prepared for the agriculture and forestry sectors. In
contrast, Canada's Marine Trophic Index declined between 2000 and 2006, so Canada gets a "D" grade and ranks
last on this indicator. The Marine Trophic Index is a measure of the
extent to which a country is fishing for smaller species that are
further down the food chain, so it measures the overall level of
depletion of fish stocks.
How Canada Performs is a multi-year research program at The Conference Board of Canada to
help leaders identify relative strengths and weaknesses in Canada's
socio-economic performance. The How Canada Performs website presents
data and analysis on Canada's performance compared to 16 peer countries
in six performance categories: Economy, Innovation, Environment, Education and Skills, Health, and
SOURCE: Conference Board of Canada
For further information:
Brent Dowdall, Media Relations, Tel.: 613- 526-3090 ext. 448