Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Canadians among worst polluters on earth

Canadians may have enthusiastically showed their solidarity for the Earth Hour held last month but a latest study says that they are among the worst polluters in the world.

Twenty-four cities across the world participated in the Earth Hour at 8 p.m. March 29 by turning off lights and electric appliances for one hour to cut carbon emissions and save energy.

According to the study released on Tuesday by Statistics Canada to coincide with Earth Day, Canada is the world's third largest polluter per capita after Australia and the US.

Interestingly, Canada was the birthplace of the world's green movement.

The study says each Canadian generated 23 tonnes of greenhouse gases in 2005 as against 24.4 tonnes by an American and 27.7 tonnes by an Australian.

“They are markedly higher than those in Germany (12.1 tonnes), the United Kingdom (10.9 tonnes), Japan (10.6 tonnes) and France (9.2 tonnes),” it says.

In 2005, Canadians, through human activities, emitted greenhouse gases equivalent to 747 mega tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

One mega tonne equals one million tonnes and driving a mid-size car about 5,000 km generates one tonne of emissions, the study says.

With just 0.5 per cent of the world's population, the report points out, Canada accounts for two per cent of the global greenhouse gas emissions.

Because of its resource-based economy and cold climate, Canada's greenhouse gas emission levels have gone up by 25 per cent since 1990. As a result, the country is getting warmer.

“The trend between 1948 and 2007 shows a 1.4 degree Celsius increase in annual temperatures in Canada,” the study says.

Glaciers in the beautiful Rocky Mountains in western Canada are receding, resulting in more dry months in some rivers.

The current Conservative government has promised to cut the emission levels by 20 per cent by 2020.

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