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Brief description:

General policy CCS and Climate change



Total GHG emissions in Canada in 2008 were 734 Mt of CO2 eq, approximately 81% of which was generated from energy sources, (includes all energy production and consumption). The remaining 19% was largely generated by agricultural sources and industrial processes, with smaller contributions from waste and solvent and other product uses. Emissions in 2008 were 24% above the 1990 total of 592 Mt. The growth trend has slowed in recent years, emissions from 2003-2008 have decreased by 0.8%. 

Electricity and Heat Generation emitted 119 MT in 2008, Fossil Fuel Production and Refining 68MT, Manufacturing Industries 43 MT

National GHG emission information

UNFCC GHG emission information
Canada has signed up to voluntary emission pledges to 2020 under the UNFCCC, but does not intend to ratify a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol. It is , however, committed to reducing total greenhouse gas emissions by 17% from 2005 levels by 2020. 


Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper, told the United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Event on Climate Change in New York, 2009: “In the near-term, the world will continue to rely heavily on fossil fuels. As a major, reliable producer, Canada will play an increasingly important role in global energy security. We therefore have a responsibility to find cleaner and more efficient ways to convert hydrocarbons into energy. “Canada is working on a variety of strategies, but one of the most exciting is carbon capture and storage.. “It holds great potential for major emission reductions at home and abroad...Trapping it there creates a virtuous energy cycle: We take hydrocarbons out, tap their energy, and put the emissions back. The Government of Canada and the Province of Alberta have established a Carbon Capture and Storage Task Force that will develop practical options for government and industry to work together to implement this technology on a large scale in Canada”.


The oil sands represent the fastest-growing source of emissions in Canada. Without dramatic mitigation efforts, Canada will find it nearly impossible to meet its target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent from 2006 levels by 2020. It accounts for 40 million ton of CO2 emissions per year in Canada. Emissions intensity of producing oil sands has decreased, i.e., 26% over the past decade. Total emissions are expected to increase due to higher production levels. Total emissions for oildsand is estimated to be 67 megatonne (Mt) per year by 2015.

Environment Minister Jim Prentice says that CCS is not the answer to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from oil sands projects in northeastern Alberta. While Ottawa and Alberta are spending billions of dollars on CCS demonstration projects, the minister has acknowledged what critics have said all along: The technology has limited application at the energy-intensive mines and insitu projects that extract the bitumen from the ground. However, CCS could play a major role in virtually eliminating carbon dioxide emissions from upgraders that process the bitumen into synthetic crude oil, thereby reducing the carbon footprint of oil sands projects over all. The industry will have to rely mainly on other technologies to reduce emissions at the production sites, he said.

Oil sands projects in Canada could face tougher regulatory scrutiny after a federal court ruling on March 6, 2008, which found the approval of Imperial Oil Ltd.’s $8-billion oil sands mine insufficient on climate change and greenhouse gas emissions.

Numerous large proposals are in the regulatory system right now, including major mines by Total SA of France, by Anglo-Dutch Royal Dutch Shell and by Petro-Canada, as well as steam-injection projects by EnCana of Calgary, and Statoil. All projects beginning after 2012 will have to have CCS in their plans, or not be permitted at all. (source?)

The minister said Canada will pursue policies that are comparable but not identical to those in the United States. Climate change rules here "will be driven by Canada's national interest," he said. Mr. Prentice said CCS is particularly critical for the coal industry because coal-fired power is a far greater source of greenhouse gas emissions globally than is the oil industry.



  • In April 2007, the Government of Canada announced Turning the Corner, which provided the ground work for Canada's approach to tackling climate change. The action plan to reduce Canada's greenhouse gas emissions in absolute terms by 20 per cent over 2006 levels by 2020. The goal is a North American cap and trade system for greenhouse gases and air pollution, with implementation to occur between 2012 and 2015.

National programmes and CCS policy

Environment Canada announced final regulations on emissions standards for coal-fired electricity generation plants in September 2012. This applies a performance standard of 420 t/GWh to new coal-fired electricity generation units, and units that have reached the end of their useful life, through regulations under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999. Temporary exceptions will be made for plants that incorporate CCS, until 2025, and there are incentives for existing plants incorporating CCS earlier than necessary. The EPS is equivalent to a combined cycle natural gas plant. It is due to come into effect on July 1, 2015. A backgrounder can be read here.

Canada is home to one of the world's first, and still one of the world's largest, CCS demonstration projects at Weyburn, Saskatchewan. Using CO2 to enhance the oil production from depleting oil reservoirs at Weyburn and Midale, Saskatchewan, this commercial project has been successfully demonstrating the safe underground storage of CO2 - over 16 megatonnes of CO2 has been injected since the start of the project. This project is also serving as a field laboratory for an international collaborative research project, launched in 2000, with the goal of developing and implementing effective and reliable CO2 measuring, monitoring and verification methodologies.   

  • The CCS roadmap was issued in 2006 by National Resources Canada. CCS is pointed as strategically important for Canada for several reasons. Canada is endowed with an abundance of fossil fuels, CCS will increase reserves through enhanced oil, and reducing CO2 emissions is a critical federal government policy priority, and Canadian researchers and energy industries are already recognized internationally in certain areas of CCS.
  • Canada has also been working with its partners to advance CCS technologies through other international fora, including the International Energy Agency, Major Economies Forum, Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum, Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, and the Clean Energy Dialogue with the USA (see below).


On March 10, 2008 the Canadian Environment Ministry announced new controls requiring carbon sequestration from 2010, including criminal sanctions for violators:

  • Federal and Provincial governments should allocate $2 billion in new public funding to leverage the billions of dollars of industry investment in the first CCS projects, operational by 2015.
  • Authorities responsible for oil and gas regulation should provide regulatory clarity to move the first CCS projects forward.: quickly confirming legislation and regulation related to pore-space ownership and disposition rights; clearly articulating the terms for the transfer of long-term liability from industry to government; and increasing the transparency of regulatory processes.
  • Federal and Provincial governments should ensure opportunity for CCS projects under the GHG regulatory frameworks. This will require the creation of CCS-specific measurement and crediting protocols.
  • Next Step
    • Industry and both government levels should form a collaborative framework including an advisory group over the next two years to coordinate discussion, to institutionalize learning, and to potentially carry out specific aspects of immediate actions 1, 2, and 3.
    • Federal and Provincial governments should provide stable financial incentives to help drive CCS activities beyond the phase-one projects. These may include the continuation of RFPs for phase-two projects, CO2 storage incentives, and/or the use of tax and royalty incentives.
    • Canadian-based research organizations and technology developers should focus research and demonstration efforts on CCS to achieve two goals: to drive down the cost of existing CCS technologies; and to enable the deployment of next generation CCS technology and processes.

Regulatory developments

In August 2011, the federal government published proposed Reduction of CO2 Emissions from Coal-Fired Generation of Electricity Regulations in Canada. These are expected to be published during 2012 and come into effect on 1 July 2015. Units that incorporate CCS could receive a temporary exemption from the standard until 2025.

The government is working with London Protocol parties to update guidance on the assessment and permitting of CO2 storage in sub-seabed geological formations. It is also taking steps to ratify the 2009 London Protocol amendment. Canada is working with the US through the US-Canada Clean Energy Dialogue on compatible regulatory standards.

At a provincial level, Alberta is conducting a CCS Regulatory Framework Assessment (RFA). British Columbia is in the process of drafting a regulatory framework for CCS and is also a participant in the Alberta RFA, as is Saskatchewan. In Saskatchewan, CO2 transportation by pipeline, injection and storage are regulated under the Oil and Gas Conservation Act (the Act) and the Pipelines Act, 1998, administered by the Ministry of Energy and Resources. An amendment to the Act was proclaimed on 1 April 2012. The regulations can be read here.


In recent years, Canada's federal and provincial governments have committed a total of approximately $3 billion in funding for CCS, which could lead to as many as five to six large-scale demonstration projects in Canada. This funding is provided through a number of federal and provincial programs such as the Government of Canada's recently created Clean Energy Fund. Canada's ecoENERGY Technology Initiative also provides funding of $151 million for seven CCS projects in a wide-range of sectors. The Government of Alberta is providing $2 billion through a program to fund large-scale CCS projects.

  • Canada's Economic Action Plan includes approximately $1.8 billion of green investments designed to protect the environment, stimulate the economy and transform technologies. 
  • The Government of Canada committed $795 million over five years for clean energy research and demonstration projects, including $650 million for large-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects
  • and $1 billion for a Green Infrastructure Fund that will support modern energy transmission lines and sustainable energy projects.  

Key Canadian projects receiving federal support:

  • The SaskPower Boundary Dam Project in Estevan, Saskatchewan, full-scale CCS demonstrations at a coal-fired power plant at a cost of $1.4 billion. The Government of Canada provided $240 million in Budget 2008 to the Government of Saskatchewan. 


Carbon Capture and Storage policy, Government Canada

Regional policy and incentives


  • Alberta are one of the largest energy producers in the world.  It has stated that CCS will deliver 70% of its abatement to 2050. The Alberta Energy Innovation Strategy (2004-2014) includes CCS. EcoTrust funding, supported by a federal allocation, includes support for the promotion of CCS technologies. In January 2008, the Alberta government released Alberta’s 2008 Climate Change Strategy. Alberta’s emissions are projected to grow to 400 megaton (Mt) by 2050, largely due to forecast growth in the oil sands sector. The new plan will cut the projected 400 Mt in half by 2050 (14 per cent reduction below 2005 levels), focused on three broad initiatives: conserving and using energy efficiently; greening energy production; and implementing CCS (139 Mt reduction coming from carbon capture and storage—the bulk of those reductions (100 Mt) will come from activities related to oil sands production. 
  • The Alberta’s $2 billion CCS fund, which seeks to reduce CO2 emissions by up to 5 million ton per year by 2015 through the development of three to five commercial-scale CCS projects.
  • Through the Alberta Energy Research Institute (AERI), the Government of Alberta is providing $6.6 million in funding for the three-year, $20-million project near Shell Canada’s Scotford facility. Three test wells will be drilled for a large-volume CCS project in Alberta. According to Shell, the first well will be drilled at the Scotford upgrader site and two more wells would be located 10 and 60 kilometers away. Two more wells may have to be drilled to understand the geology of the area, as there are few cores available to study. The field test phase is expected to conclude by June 2010.
  • The Alberta Saline Aquifer Project started in 2009 to identify and prepare aquifers in Alberta for CO2 storage.
  • Accelerating Carbon Capture and Storage Implementation in Alberta. Alberta Carbon Capture and Storage Development Council
    Final Report. March 2009
  • Alberta Government has set up the Climate Change and Emissions Management Fund to support clean technology projects as well as adaptation initiatives and projects to mitigate biological emissions. The Climate Change and Emissions Management Corporation (CCEMC) manages the fund, from which it receives annual grants. It then selects projects to be funded. More details at the CCEMC website.
  • The Regulatory Framework Assessment project, which is developing regulations to cover all aspects of CCS, is expected to report its recommendations to the Alberta Minister of Energy by the end of 2012. The findings will have relevance to CCS worldwide.
British Columbia carbon tax

British Columbia has passed a carbon tax aimed at encouraging investment in low carbon solutions. From July 2008 carbon emissions for fossil fuel consumed in the province have been taxed at $10 a tonne, and will rise by $5 a tonne per year up to $30 in 2012. Those costs are built into the price of fuel. However, the carbon tax applies only to fuels and not industry.

Under the BC Energy Plan—A Vision for Clean Energy Leadership, the government requires all new electricity generation projects to have zero net emissions and existing oil and gas generation power plants offsetting all emissions by 2016.

BC and other provinces and states that are part of the Western Climate Initiative (WCI) are expected to have the rules set for a regional cap-and-trade system. 

CCS initiatives

  • ICO2N stands for Integrated CO2 Network, a proposed carbon capture and storage (CCS) system for Canada. The companies participating in the ICO2N carbon capture and storage initiative represent a cross-section of Canadian industry committed to helping Canada meet its climate change objectives while supporting economic growth.

CCS research and development activities


Storage potential

The potential for underground storage of CO2 in Western Canada is already well known.

A joint Canadian government and industry funded study has found that central Alberta in Canada holds the possibility for large amounts of CO2 storage in geological formations. Using geological, seismic and other data, the Wabamun Area CO2 Sequestration Project (WASP) feasibility study has concluded that there is the potential to store more than 500 million tonnes of CO2 in an area of 5,000 square km, which would be sufficient to mitigate half of Alberta’s coal-fired power stations. ( April 2010,

Government of Canada has funded a work to assess whether similar CCS opportunities can be developed in Nova Scotia, where coal-fired generating stations supply some three-quarters of the province's electricity.

Canada is a key part of the North American Carbon Storage Atlas.

International cooperation on CCS

US and Canada Partnering

United States and Canada announced plans to work together on clean energy technology, including CCS. As part of the agreement, both countries will advance technologies and collaborate on a Smart Grid. The focus of the plan is to mitigate emissions from existing energy sources. Funding will come from both governments’ respective stimulus packages, which have a portion set up for clean energy. The agreement is viewed as the first step towards bringing together Canadian and American environmental regulations to limit GHGs. In July 2012, the governments of the US and Canada renewed their pledge to jointly progress with clean energy technologies, and released the US-Canada Clean Energy Dialogue (CED) Action Plan II, outlining their next phase of activities.

On 6 March 2012, a memorandum of understanding was signed between Canada and TNO, coordinator of the CATO-programme in the Netherlands, to further the exchange of knowledge about carbon capture, transport and storage.

The Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate was set up in 2006 comprising a membership of the national governments of India, Australia, Japan, China, South Korea, Canada and the US. Its eight action plans included the Action Plan on Cleaner Fossil Energy, which identified 13 project proposals for exploring clean coal and gas technologies. Australia chaired the partnership and was the main financial contributor, pledging A$200 million over 5 years towards the so-called AP6 projects. The partnership had also worked to build links between the public and private sector, disseminate knowledge and promote best practice. It concluded its work in early 2011, with a number of its projects continuing and/or being transferred to other agencies.

Govermental institutions

  • Alberta Research Council (ARC)
  • CanmetENERGY, is the Canadian leader in clean energy research and technology development. Canada's knowledge centre for scientific expertise on clean energy technologies, with over 450 scientists, engineers and technician.



  • Oil sands producers

In early 2012, 12 of Canada’s oil sands producers formed an alliance to focus on four key issues, including tackling emissions from their operations, with CCS expected to play a major role. The Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA) also aims to remove barriers in the areas of funding and intellectual property enforcement.

  • Environmental organizations


Reports and Publications

Overview of reports

Websites with good information about CCS activities in Canada


Latest News:

  • Study Finds Large CO2 Storage Potential in Alberta
    13 April 10 – A joint Canadian government and industry funded study has found that central Alberta in Canada holds the possibility for large amounts of CO2 storage in geological formations. Using geological, seismic and other data, the Wabamun Area CO2 Sequestration Project (WASP) feasibility study has concluded that there is the potential to store more than 500 million tonnes of CO2 in an area of 5,000 square km, which would be sufficient to mitigate half of Alberta’s coal-fired power stations