The oil price crash also took a toll on Canadian tar sands, which represent the world's third-largest oil reserve. Tar sands are more carbon-laden and energy intensive to produce than most other forms of crude oil, exacerbating climate change in the process. The oil price crash has cost more than 35,000 tar sands jobs in Alberta, and tar sands producers are operating at extremely thin margins.
With oil prices expected to remain low for a while, 2016 could be the year the Canadian oil sands producers prove they can operate at an adequate profit and weather both low oil prices and international pressure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, or continue shrinking.
Stagnant growth in carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels could become a trend in 2016. Or not.
Growth in emissions from burning fossil fuels halted in 2015 partly because of the global boom in renewable energy - a big deal for the climate because until recently, economic growth and carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels rose and fell together. If the stagnation becomes a trend in 2016, it could prove that the global economy can boom without relying on fossil fuels and that countries can begin to prosper while slashing emissions to slow climate change.