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B.C. snags top spot in green report card; Alberta gets high marks Add to ...

British Columbia gets the top ranking in a comprehensive "green" report card being issued today that evaluates the environmental performance of Canadian provinces and territories.

The comparison, calculated by Toronto-based Corporate Knights magazine, rates Ontario and the three sparsely populated territories just behind British Columbia. But the next best ranking is more of a surprise: Alberta beats out Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and all the Atlantic provinces.

One reason for Alberta's relatively high position is that the study looked at many environmental factors beyond greenhouse-gas emissions. It ranked each province on 10 key categories, including water use, biodiversity, waste management, energy consumption and transportation. (The results were weighted by population or gross domestic product, to adjust for the varying sizes of the provinces.)

Alberta gets top marks for a high percentage of sustainable forests, for instance, and for a large number of green-certified homes.

"Climate change and greenhouse gases have become the pre-eminent definer of [environmental]performance," said Corporate Knights editor Toby Heaps. "[But]biodiversity, green jobs and waste per capita are also important."

A new land-use framework that is in the works in Alberta will probably further strengthen its position in the future, Mr. Heaps said.

Still, Alberta does come dead last on the air-quality score, mainly because of its greenhouse-gas emissions.

British Columbia's No. 1 ranking results from its top position in providing green jobs, constructing green buildings, growing organic food and its efficient use of energy.

At the bottom of the list is Prince Edward Island. While it is known as a green oasis, the province came out badly because of its poor energy efficiency, high dependence on cars, few green buildings and its almost complete lack of protected land.

Quebec's relatively low ranking is partly a result of its notoriously leaky water infrastructure, which boosts its per capita water use, Mr. Heaps said. The province also has a relatively small proportion of land set aside for ecological preservation.

It did, however, rank first for carbon efficiency per unit of economic output, thanks to its hydroelectric generating capacity.

Mr. Heaps said this is the first broad grading of Canada's ecological performance that looks at the relative strengths of the provinces. He said he hopes it prompts a more nuanced analysis of provincial government policies.

The magazine didn't conduct new research for the report but compiled the information from government data and surveys conducted by independent environmental organizations.

***

Report card

PROVINCE SCORE*
British Columbia 69
Ontario 67
Northwest Territories 66
Yukon Territory 57
Nunavut 56
Alberta 55
Nova Scotia 53
Saskatchewan 50
Quebec 49
Manitoba 46
New Brunswick 40
Newfoundland 38
Prince Edward Island 32

Source: Corporate Knights

*out of 100

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