Alberta Environment Minister Diana McQueen proposed legislation that would mandate a 40 percent reduction in the amount of emissions per barrel of oil sands produced from her province. Legislation that went into force in 2007 calls for a 12 percent reduction from base levels.
Pembina Institute Federal Policy Director Clare Demerse told The Globe and Mail that tighter regulations were needed to ease the concerns of environmental groups worried about carbon-intensive oil sands production.
"A larger part of the discussion around Keystone (XL) has been about greenhouse gas emissions," she said. "This is clearly a sector that is under scrutiny right now, and the right answer to that scrutiny is to come out with credible regulations."
The Canadian government is working to persuade its U.S. counterparts to sign off on the cross-border pipeline.
Norwegian energy company Statoil announced this week it was taking unilateral action to reduce its carbon footprint at oil sands operations in Alberta province as production increases.