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CGD Notes

Global Stakes: Potential Agricultural Productivity Losses from Full Exploitation of Canada’s Oil Sands

10/17/11
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Full exploitation of the Alberta oil sands deposit would have the most severe impacts on regions where the poorest countries are concentrated. In this note, DavidWheeler suggests that full exploitation of Canada’s oil sands deposit would impose significantagricultural productivity losses on over 3 billion people in the developing world, and particularlyin sub-Saharan Africa. Although, individual country estimates are subject to considerableuncertainty there can be little doubt about the destructive implications.

Afuller accounting of potential losses indicates that a carbon release of thismagnitude would also expose hundreds of millions people to extreme weather events and sea-level rise. Similar losses will be generated by full exploitation of other massive fossil fuel deposits.

Table 1: Full Exploitation of the Canadian Oil Sands Deposit: Distribution of Projected Agricultural Productivity Impacts by Region (PDF)

 

 

 

Projected Agricultural Productivity Losses (%):

Distribution of Developing Countries

 

 

 

Region

 

 

 

Countries

Rural Population

2008

(Million)

 

 

 

Minimum

 

 

 

Quartile 1

 

 

 

Median

 

 

 

Quartile 3

 

 

 

Maximum

Africa

50

590.4

-2.4

5.1

7.0

8.1

12.8

Asia

43

2,317.0

-2.4

2.6

5.0

5.7

8.7

Latin America

21

109.5

2.4

5.0

5.2

6.1

9.1

Total

114

3,016.9

-2.4

4.4

5.6

7.1

12.8

Table 2: Country Impacts of Potential Emissions From Canadian Oil Sands IPCC A2 Scenario Estimated Percent Agricultural Productivity Loss by 2080 (%APL) and Rural Population, 2008 (RP 08, in Millions) (HTML | PDF)

Figure 1: Country Ranks, Estimated Percentage of Agricultural Productivity Loss by 2080: Potential Carbon Emissions from Canadian Oil Sands