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CBC readers debate Canada's low ranking on energy efficiency ratings list

Categories: Canada

tuft-cove-ns-power-cp-480.jpgThe three 150-metre chimneys at Nova Scotia Power's Tuft Cove generating station are seen in Dartmouth, N.S. on Thursday, July 12, 2012. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)

Canada's poor showing on an international energy efficiency ratings list has rankled many members of the CBC Community.

The non-profit American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) placed Canada at No. 11 out of 12 countries in its energy efficient score card, ahead of only Russia.

Readers left more than 195 comments Monday, making it one of the most-commented stories that day. Many readers expressed some skepticism of the study, noting that the two countries ranked last in the list are also two of the largest and coldest.

  • "Canada and Russia are the last two on the list. Canada and Russia are the two biggest land masses, land masses which get unbearably cold for long stretches of the year. Perhaps there's a connection?" - Nick Rivers
  • "Maybe Canadians use more energy because it's so freakin' cold here?!" - Leroy Jenkins
  • "I'd like to know how we stack up to Norway, Sweden or Finland, over milder climates or densely populated countries like the Germany, UK or France. No one should be surprised that the two coldest climates, and lowest population density ranked worst in energy efficiency." - tdot34

Others, however, said either that Canada's size has less of an impact on energy efficiency than they might believe, or that it isn't an excuse to aim for a higher ranking.

  • "Although Canada and Russia will probably always consume more energy to meet the temperature requirements, there are many instances of wastage. We can all do better." - Redrose
  • "Most of Canada's residents live on a small segment of the country (roughly 15 per cent), and over 84 per cent now live in cities...So enough with using the excuse of Canada being a huge country. The population is very concentrated in the south of Canada along the U.S. border. We just need to face the fact that we are resource hogs." - Voiceinthedark

One exchange by Petrobon and JoolsBUK caught our attention, tackling many of the subjects their fellow commenters touched on.

  • "I suspect that energy efficiency is highly related to population density. If you have very dense population centers, then you can capitalize on a lot of things such as mass transit, centralized industry, etc. When you spread everything out over a large land area, you're going to lose efficiency. The bottom five countries of the list happen to be the five largest countries by area in the world. This is not to say that great strides can't be made in terms of efficiency, but it's a simple fact that efficiency increases with centralization." - Petrobon
  • " It's also a simple fact that Canada had a terrible track record when it comes to things like its stance on energy usage and climate change. Perhaps there's a link there somewhere." - JoolsBUK
  • " Perhaps. But that's the problem with this study (as presented in article). It doesn't tell us whether or not Canada is terribly inefficient or if we're just big. Ranking countries by smallest land mass to largest results in almost the exact same list. Simply coincidence? I would have to read the full study to find out." - Petrobon
  • " If population density was the #1 factor Japan would be #1." - JoolBUK
  • "Not necessarily, no. Even if it was the strongest factor, it would still be possible for Japan to rank lower based on the combination of all other factors." - Petrobon

A select few blew off the study entirely.

  • "Well done Canada! You have continued to keep you citizens warm and safe through our sometimes-brutal winters. You have managed to keep people connected and fed over our vast distances. Who really cares what illogical people in NGO or other countries think!" - Mr. Lo Key
  • "So what? It's Canada's business and no one else's. The mindset of keeping up to the Jones is what causes damage, regardless of the reason." - Sams Lookin Up
Thank you, as always, for offering your insights. Feel free to continue the conversation below!

Tags: Canada, POV

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