The Bitumen Cliff

Lessons and Challenges of Bitumen Mega-Developments for Canada's Economy in an Age of Climate Change
February 21, 2013
2.51 MB102 pages

The failure to carefully regulate the bitumen industry is putting Canada on a dangerous economic and environmental trajectory. This study shows that the current bitumen path is creating the double threat: a “staples trap,” whereby the faster Canada exports its bitumen, the less diversified, productive and resilient the economy becomes;” and a “carbon trap,” which locks Canada into an carbon dependent development path, making the costs of future climate adaptation much more difficult. It presents a wealth of empirical data indicating the negative side effects of unregulated bitumen developments for Canada’s trade, exchange rate, productivity, and income distribution performance and proposes a two-track approach to steer away from the “bitumen cliff.”