CALGARY - Alberta's Oil Sands Advisory Group is recommending a series of escalating measures including financial penalties and potentially halting projects to ensure greenhouse gas emissions from the oilsands remain within a mandated 100-megatonne limit.
As a first step, the report recommends steps that will reduce future emissions including using better technology, setting out emissions plans, and improved regulations.
The oilsands currently emit about 70 megatonnes of greenhouse gases. The group of 18 advisers suggests that when they hit 80 and 90 megatonnes there should be reviews of the system and how facilities might be affected as emissions approach the cap.
It also recommends establishing annual and 10-year forecasts, with more reviews triggered when the cap is expected to be hit in five years.
When the cap is expected to be hit within a year, the report says high-intensity emitters could be forced to reduce emissions or face penalties and the government could suspend projects that haven't started construction.
The Alberta government says it will now review the consensus advice from the group and begin stakeholder consultations.