Canada's Environmental Reputation Trashed by Garbage, Report Says

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Canada among most wasteful countries

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TORONTO - Canada's consumer-based society and laggardly approach to reducing energy consumption has cast a long shadow over the country's green reputation, a prominent think tank said Thursday.

The Conference Board of Canada released its biannual report card of environmental performance, which ranks 17 developed countries across 14 indicators ranging from air quality to biodiversity.

Canada scored below average on nine of the categories and earned an overall grade of C, placing it 15th in the report's rankings, the conference board said. Only the U.S. and Australia turned in a worse environmental performance, the board added.

France took top honours in the ranking, followed by Norway and Sweden.

Len Coad, Director of Energy, Environment and Technology Policy at the Conference Board, said Canada's poor showing is due largely to the country's comparatively low-key response to environmental challenges.

Policy-makers have made strides towards improving Canada's record, but haven't reacted as efficiently as many other international players, he said.

"Most of the challenges are being addressed, but given that we're slipping in the ranking, we're not addressing them strongly enough or quickly enough," Coad said in a telephone interview from Calgary.

Canada's performance on municipal waste was particularly alarming, Coad said.

Canadians threw out more trash per capita than any of their counterparts in the report, he said, adding waste disposal rates were sometimes more than double the numbers posted by much more densely populated countries such as Japan.

The vast majority of the country's garbage found its way into landfills or incinerators, the report said, adding such activity does no favours for the water supply or air pollution levels.

Energy intensity emerged as another area of environmental concern, Coad said, citing Canada's high consumption rates and prominent role as an oil and gas exporter. …