Canadian Manufacturing

Feds underestimate GHG emissions: report

While hydro releases much less carbon than fossil fuels, new research reveals the difference isn’t as great as initially thought.


OTTAWA—A new environmental study says the federal government is underestimating greenhouse gas emissions from hydro developments by a factor of 20.

The Global Forest Watch report suggests that while hydro electricity releases much less carbon than power generated by fossil fuels, new research reveals the difference isn’t as great as previously thought.

Hydro developments release greenhouse gases when forests and plant materials are submerged by new reservoirs. As the organic material decays, stored carbon is released.

The federal government, using procedures recommended by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has reported such emissions total 0.5 megatonnes of carbon dioxide a year.

But Global Forest Watch says data from hydro developments in Quebec show the true total is between seven and 13 megatonnes of carbon dioxide.