Fossil oil production needs to start declining to keep global warming below two degrees Celsius. That's according to the International Energy Agency's newest "2°C Scenario" (IEA 2DS).

Canada was among the 190 nations that signed the Paris Agreement agreeing to do their part to meet that two degrees Celsius maximum target. In fact, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau flew to Paris and urged the world to adopt the much safer target of only 1.5 degrees in global temperature rise.

Back home, however, Canada's oil industry is planning a dramatic increase in the amount of fossil oil it extracts each year. That's according to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) "2016 Supply Forecast." It shows that industry plans to pump out a third more fossil oil by 2030. There is no plan to peak or reduce the amount of fossil oil Canada pulls out of the ground.

Here's a chart comparing the IEA's two degrees safety path and Canadian expansion plans:

IEA 2C oil scenario vs Canada oil plans
CHART NOTES: "Canada's Plans" data from Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) "Crude Oil Forecast. 2016" report. This is the industry's plan to increase production from ~3.6 mb/d in 2013 to 4.93 mb/d in 2030. The "Path to 2C" data comes from the International Energy Agency's (IEA) 2°C Scenario from their 2016 Energy Technology Perspectives. CHART by Barry Saxifrage at and Nov 2016.

To achieve their plans, the Canadian oil industry says they need more oil pipelines built to fill "the gap" between existing transport options and their rapid expansion goals.

Prime Minister Trudeau agrees.

He lobbied for approval of Keystone XL, which U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has pledged "100 per cent" to approve soon. That project has the potential to increase Canada's fossil oil extraction by around 190 million tonnes of CO2 per year (MtCO2/year). That's more than the combined emissions from the 100 least climate polluting nations.

On top of that pipeline, Mr. Trudeau will soon be deciding whether to approve yet another contentious mega-pipeline — the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Expansion to the shores of Vancouver. It will carry an additional 125 MtCO2/year.

In the wings, two more giant fossil oil pipelines — Line 3 (80 MtCO2/year) and Energy East (240 MtCO2/year) — are working their way to Mr. Trudeau's desk.

------ Notes --------

CO2 per barrel:

Environment Canada estimates 90 kgCO2 is emitted to extract each barrel of bitumen. A study by Oil Change International estimates 520 kgCO2 is released when each barrel of bitumen is burned. That's approximately 600 kgCO2/bbl in total.

Proposed pipeline capacities & CO2 (at 600 kgCO2/barrel):

  • Keystone XL: 890 thousand barrels a day (kb/d). 324 million barrels per year (mb/y). 195 MtCO2 per year from oil.
  • Trans Mountain: 590 kb/d. 215 mb/y. 129 MtCO2/year.
  • Line 3: 370 kb/d. 135 mb/y. 81 MtCO2/year.
  • Energy East: 1,100 kb/d. 402 mb/y. 241 MtCO2/year.

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