Feds ask expert panel to study oil sands environmental technologies

Conservative government hopes technological advancements will help Canada meet 2020 greenhouse gas targets.

Comments Off on Feds ask expert panel to study oil sands environmental technologies November 27, 2013
by Canadian Press

OTTAWA — The federal government has asked a panel of experts to help catalogue and chart a way forward for technologies that can help reduce the environmental footprint of oil sands development.

Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver says he’s asked the Council of Canadian Academies to turn its gaze on new and emerging technologies for extracting bitumen from the tar-like sands of Alberta.

A 13-member panel will study what’s currently working and has been asked to identify economic and regulatory hurdles that slow the spread of the most promising technologies.

The council was created in 2005 with a 10-year, $30-million government grant and is designed to provide peer-reviewed, science-based assessments to help inform public policy.

Canada is not on track to reach its international pledges for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2020, but the Conservative government has frequently held out hope that technological breakthroughs will alter that trajectory.

A spokeswoman for the academy, a not-for-profit corporation, says expert panels typically take between 18 and 24 months to report and do not make policy recommendations — but instead provide a base of solid evidence to use in the policy mix.

The panel is to be co-chaired by Ferric Newell, the former CEO of Sync rude Canada, and by the head of the International Institute for Sustainable Development, Scotty Vaughan.

© 2013 The Canadian Press