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not all is equal. what choice will you make?
53

Mythbusting: Are the Oilsands Major greenhouse Gas Emitters?

Alykhan July 22, 2011

Here’s an interesting statistic: Every single week, somewhere in China, two newly constructed coal-fired power plants fire up.  The largest coal-fired power plant in the world, in Taiwan, emits about 42 megatonnes of carbon dioxide every year. Some of the biggest U.S. plants put out between 16 million and 25 million tonnes. But even if China’s building much smaller plants — ones emitting between one and two million tonnes, say — at a rate of two new plants a week, that means the Chinese are adding an annual greenhouse gas burden to the world’s atmosphere of somewhere between 100 and 200 million tonnes, or megatonnes, every year. If the plants are large ones, that number could be several hundred megatonnes of carbon dioxide being pushed out every single year.

The entire oilsands industry emits, every year, 45 MT.

In an ethical country like Canada, we obviously take the environment a lot more seriously than the Chinese regime does: it’s why we hear so much concern about the oilsands carbon footprint from NGOs, politicians and in the media. You won’t hear nearly as much criticism in China, or Venezuela, for that matter. The fact that Canadians care so much about the planet—and that we have the freedom to express our concerns—is one of the many reasons that we know Canada is a more ethically minded country than most. So, if we want to ensure that we minimize the impact our industries have on the atmosphere, then paying close attention to the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the oilsands has to be a priority. And it is: According to Environment Canada’s measurements, the oilsands has reduced its per barrel GHG output by 29% since 1990. Despite massive expansion of oilsands production in the last two decades, Canada’s oil companies have managed to cut their per barrel carbon output by nearly a third.

As impressive as that is, Canadians want oilsands producers to do even better, and at this rate, there’s no reason to expect that they can’t. Every company operating in Northern Alberta is working to minimize its greenhouse gas footprint, and Alberta’s was the first provincial government to implement a carbon tax on its major emitters, using the proceeds from any penalties imposed on companies exceeding their carbon cap to fund research into carbon-reduction technology.

Still, with all the criticism and pressure that Alberta and the oilsands have faced worldwide for the greenhouse gases emitted there, it’s vital to maintain perspective. The oilsands are one of Canada’s most vital industries, spinning off billions of dollars annually into the economy, and employing tens of thousands of workers, from First Nations to Newfoundland, and yet, they are responsible for roughly 6.5% of all of Canada’s annual greenhouse gas emissions. Since the entire Canadian economy is responsible for just 0.3% of the whole world’s natural  and manmade carbon emissions, GHGs from the oilsands total just over one-hundredth of one percent of all the greenhouse gases going up into the atmosphere, or 0.015%. Farts emitted from all the cows and pigs on Canada’s farms emit more than that.

In fact, after a total “well to wheel” accounting for GHGs, oil from other countries is responsible for a greater output of GHGs per barrel than is oilsands oil: Because Nigeria—a major exporter to the U.S.—recklessly burns off the natural gas emitted by its oil production, Alberta’s oilsands oil already has a 20% lower footprint than oil from that country. Meantime the U.S. government’s National Energy Technology Laboratory estimates that Venezuela’s “ultraheavy” oil emits at least as much, and possibly more, GHGs per barrel than the oilsands. As the world’s reserves of the lightest crude oil run out, heavier oil is becoming a greater part of every country’s energy mix. Already, the average barrel of pure oilsands oil comes with a carbon footprint not much more than 10% higher than the average world’s blended barrel. That is certain to shrink even smaller in the coming years.

But the oilsands are just one small part of the world’s energy supply, and when it comes to carbon emissions, as the proliferation of Chinese coal plants shows, the oilsands are a relatively minor issue compared to some of the other challenges the world must face if we want to reduce CO2 output. America’s coal-fired power plants, too, output more GHGs than the oilsands: about 60 times as much. The Chinese government estimates that within a decade, its coal-powered economy will have developed to the point where its emitting 330 times more carbon dioxide than Canada’s oilsands.

None of these are a good excuse for Canadians to take their eye off the ball when it comes to reducing our own oil industry’s impacts, and we care far too much about the environment to ignore the effects that even one of our most vital industries is having on the planet. But it is important to put every problem in perspective, particularly in light of some of the dramatic anti-oilsands rhetoric being spun by opponents of ethical oil. Canada’s oilsands are responsible for a fraction of the country’s GHG emissions; the entire Canadian economy is responsible for a fraction of the world’s GHG emissions; and while emissions from the oilsands fall per barrel, there are many energy sources presenting far more serious climate challenges than the oilsands do, and those other challenges, unfortunately, are only getting worse.

 

Comments (53)

  1. The climate changes naturally, aways has. always will. At worst, CO2 is a minor player. At best, we are liberating plant food. A “warming” planet is actually shorter milder winters, with summers unchanged. In Canada we have 1/3 fewer heat wave days today than we did in the 1930′s The vast majority of record breaking days is before 1950. Last week, on one day only, we broke a record last set in 1918!! By only 0.3C!! The planet is just returing to more moderated temperatures. The bottom line is there is nothing happening in the climate or weather today that is beyond normal variation. See:
    http://www.co2science.org
    wattsupwiththat.com
    judithcurry.com

    other links on those sites. AGW is nothing more than a eco-religion.

  2. Pingback: Canadian campaign puts the spin on ‘ethical oil’ | Leo Hickman | Hopenhagen2009

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  4. if Canada is so concerned about it’s greenhouse gas emissions as this article is trying to imply, then surely the country would be focusing on truly green energy sources such as solar, wind, wave and geothermal power. we have a choice where our energy comes from: oil is not an environmentally-friendly choice. green technologies innovated and installed by Canadian communities and businesses would be the TRUE ethical source of energy.

  5. Comparing GHG emissions from oil sands extraction to coal power is terribly misleading. The product of Chinese and American coal power is a whole lot of useful and clean electricity, whereas the product of Alberta’s oil sands is a relatively small quantity of oil (in terms of global energy consumption) that still needs to be refined and combusted. The acceptable comparison would be against emissions from coal mining, conventional oil extraction, or other heavy oil extraction, and further dividing by useful energy output to normalize your comparisons. The total “well to wheel” accounting for GHGs that you mention are the only figures that are relevant, not simply bonus “in fact” material.

    • Except that 98% of the natural gas burned to process the bitumen is first used for cogeneration of electricity which contributes to the Alberta grid and completely offsets its oil sands use. This in effect means that there is no additional supposed GHG emissions from oil sands petroleum.

  6. How do you say patsy in Arabic?

    Mid east oil producers import and burn dirty coal to power their own economies which frees up more of the cleaner and far more expensive oil for export to us.
    How clean is that oil?

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/business/0,1518,563502,00.html

    “Why the Gulf Is Switching to Coal
    By Wolfgang Reuter

    The Persian Gulf may be sitting atop massive oil reserves. But with prices for crude skyrocketing, it makes more sense to sell it than to burn it. Instead, the Gulf is turning to coal for its energy needs — to the detriment of the climate.”

    • Saudi Oil reserve are grossly over stated, hasn’t changed in decades of production, which is not physically possible. An excellent book on the subject: Twilight in the Desert.

  7. Wind power is clean?

    Ask these guys:
    “In China, the true cost of Britain’s clean, green wind power experiment: Pollution on a disastrous scale
    (snip)
    “Rusting pipelines meander for miles from factories processing rare earths in Baotou out to the man-made lake where, mixed with water, the foul-smelling radioactive waste from this industrial process is pumped day after day. No signposts and no paved roads lead here, and as we approach security guards shoo us away and tail us. When we finally break through the cordon and climb sand dunes to reach its brim, an apocalyptic sight greets us: a giant, secret toxic dump, made bigger by every wind turbine we build.
    The lake instantly assaults your senses. Stand on the black crust for just seconds and your eyes water and a powerful, acrid stench fills your lungs.
    For hours after our visit, my stomach lurched and my head throbbed. We were there for only one hour, but those who live in Mr Yan’s village of Dalahai, and other villages around, breathe in the same poison every day.
    Retired farmer Su Bairen, 69, who led us to the lake, says it was initially a novelty – a multi-coloured pond set in farmland as early rare earth factories run by the state-owned Baogang group of companies began work in the Sixties.

    ‘At first it was just a hole in the ground,’ he says. ‘When it dried in the winter and summer, it turned into a black crust and children would play on it. Then one or two of them fell through and drowned in the sludge below. Since then, children have stayed away.’
    As more factories sprang up, the banks grew higher, the lake grew larger and the stench and fumes grew more overwhelming.

    ‘It turned into a mountain that towered over us,’ says Mr Su. ‘Anything we planted just withered, then our animals started to sicken and die.’
    People too began to suffer. Dalahai villagers say their teeth began to fall out, their hair turned white at unusually young ages, and they suffered from severe skin and respiratory diseases. Children were born with soft bones and cancer rates rocketed.
    Official studies carried out five years ago in Dalahai village confirmed there were unusually high rates of cancer along with high rates of osteoporosis and skin and respiratory diseases. The lake’s radiation levels are ten times higher than in the surrounding countryside, the studies found.

    Since then, maybe because of pressure from the companies operating around the lake, which pump out waste 24 hours a day, the results of ongoing radiation and toxicity tests carried out on the lake have been kept secret and officials have refused to publicly acknowledge health risks to nearby villages.”

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/moslive/article-1350811/In-China-true-cost-Britains-clean-green-wind-power-experiment-Pollution-disastrous-scale.html#ixzz1TVWFuu7E

    ——

    Funny how the CBC’s Quirks and Quarks misses stories like that.

    • Christopher_royal August 18, 2011 at 03:21

      You are using the daily mail as a source. Good one! Why are you even reading the Daily Mail…presumably for comedy reasons rather than that you actually believe the right wing, anti-scientific propoganda that they churn out. If you are going to quote anything (I notice this website does not quote proper, peer-reviewed sources from scientific journals either), then I would warn against the Daily Mail if you truly want to be scientifically objective. At any rate, development of any technology has impacts, whatever we do. It is in the COMPARISON of LIKE-FOR-LIKE technologies and impacts that provides a true understanding. Is the total environmental and human health impact of producing electricity from renewable energy such as solar, wind, geothermal, tidal (which all has environmental impacts of their own) etc. less than using non-renewable fossil fuels that pollute the air, soils, oceans, contribute to mass ecological destruction in ecosystems, create mass inequalities, require vast infrastructure development and leave a legacy of pollution that costs subsidised tax payers money to clean up. If you seriously believe the long term life-cycle internalised costs of non-renewables are less than renewables then you need your head seen to.

      As for this website, how on earth you can claim oil to be ethical, regardless of where is comes from, is beyond me. Are we going to have ethical nuclear weaponry next?

  8. Pingback: Canadian campaign puts the spin on ‘ethical oil’ | The Guardian Reader

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  11. Fact: Because China and the US do it we should to. Remember the saying 2 wrongs don’t make a right? Well apparently it doesn’t apply here.
    Fact: I don’t live in Alberta so I have no clue how this Carbon Tax works however the 1 thing I do know is that governments are great at making look as if they are doing good when they really aren’t. If the Carbon Tax is really doing something why don’t you release the information about the fine print because the devil is always in the details

  12. The truth about what the First Nations truly think of the Tar Sands is captured very well in this documentary: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v

    Let the First Nations do the speaking for themselves rather then allowing the oil companies do the talking for them.

  13. Pingback: Hollywood, a Lack of Common Sense and the Oil Sands | Best Calgary Homes

  14. Reading this made me feel dirty. To say that the oil sands are environmentally conscious because Canada’s carbon footprint compares favorably with China’s is the poorest argument I’ve ever heard–and I’ve graded essays at both the high school and the college level.

  15. Your justification isn’t worth the time of day: ‘sure we’re bad, but we aren’t the absolute worst.’

  16. Well Nolan and Adam maybe you need to open your eyes. The argument is that we are wanting people to use Alberta oil instead of Saudi oil because if you are going to use oil, and we are, it is better to use the ethical oil. To say that Alberta is bad so lets shut it down means they will buy it all from other sources, it doesn’t mean they will stop buying it.

    • I read an article about how China is a major investor of the Canadian oil sands. CNOOC, China’s largest offshore crude and natural gas producer offered to buy Opti Canada, an Alberta oil company.Two other deals in the past have been cleared by Canada, and now PetroChina has 60% control over two other Alberta tar sand projects.
      On this website China has been given alot of criticism. But if China is a big investor in Canada tar sands, doesn’t that mean our “Ethical” oil can be considered “Conflict” oil.

  17. the point is it’s still emitting 45 MT. per year. Just becuase it emits less than the other guy doesn’t mean it should be called ethical or better. Pulling free of the Saudi brokers is like saying: “Congratulations, we now make our own guns, we needn’t import them.” Lets promote clean energy in Canada.

    • It’s well and good to promote clean energy but until it can compete with (let alone replace) fossil fuels it’s senseless to oppose Canada’s energy industry.

      Canadian oil isn’t ethical as you say, “Just becuase[sic] it emits less than the other guy . . .”. If you would do a little reading on this site, you’d see that the rational for asserting that Canadian oil is ethical is because of our high environmental standards coupled with scrupulous accountability, our freedoms of speech and religion, the rule of law, our social programs, the equality of sexes, etc, etc.

  18. Alberta’s 2008 Climate Change Strategy estimates that emissions are to grow to 400 MT by 2050. This information–that an increase in growth means an increase in emissions–seems to be missing from your sales pitch. (The same strategy includes a plan to reduce the emissions through carbon capture and storage, but I’m sure lobbying will bury that.) And I’m getting a little fed up with sorting through the red herring fallacies (e.g. China’s coal-powered economy) tossed in as a way to divert attention from problems associated with oil from Canada.

  19. Haha oh wow. I cannot believe the author of this article had the unabashed audacity to cite the tar sands as being a ‘relatively minor issue compared to some of the other challenges the world must face if we want to reduce CO2 output’. The ignorance of this article doesn’t amuse me at all, in fact I find it infuriating because of how absurd this is.

    To make it even worse, the author keeps citing Canada as such a ‘morally superior country than say China’. Yeah alright, completely putting down other countries and acting superior is a great moral lesson.

    This entire website deserves to get shut the fuck down. I can’t believe absolute ignorant shit like this is allowed on the internet.

    • environmentalist-kh January 9, 2012 at 02:53

      kheaven 1992 you have no brain in that head of yours. i have seen first hand how countries such as china and egypt compare in regards to environmental legislation, responsibility and monitoring of their resources and the industries involved with these resources. they DO NOT COME CLOSE TO CANADA!
      canada is one of the worlds most moral countries when it comes to managing the oil industry and other resources. please do not embarrass yourself and comment on things you know nothing about obviously. the article states that canada DOES contribute, but we are not the worst by a long shot…it even states it is important to put every problem into perspective and from where i am sitting canada can always do better but is doing a pretty darn good job. i suggest you travel the world, work in the industry and do some research before writing such ignorant comments.

      Environmental Conservation and Reclamation Specialist

  20. Pingback: The Ethical Oil Institute on oil sands emissions | Deep Climate

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      • Efforts to develop so-called green energy ARE being made but they aren’t up to speed yet (if they ever will be). We still need to generate electricity, fuel vehicles and equipment, heat our homes on a national scale. Fossil fuels are the only realistic option for now and in the foreseeable future.

        Would it be ethical to shut down power plants, vehicles, and furnaces? Should Asian people be denied the blessings that are derived from fossil fuels?

        You are short-sighted, deluded, and simplistic, so grow up!

  25. This entire post by AlyKhan is presenting unsupportable and unethical information, which are false dichotomies. Ethics nor anything else is not determined through comparisons. In addition, the information presented on the oil sands is incomplete and misleading, Worse yet, suggesting that the oil sands are ethical because they are spinning dollars for Canada is outrageous and highly objectionable. You cannot buy the health of our people and our planet.

    Here are some facts reported by Der Spiegel, a leading online German newspapers regarding the Stench of Money of Canada’s oil sands For more information, click on
    http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,791008-2,00.html. A search can be made for another article on the website.

    Der Spiegel’s points:

    Simply, this is about big money and exploitation of the people and of Canadian and American lands, harming the entire planet.
    - US environmentalist Bill McKibben, one of the spokesmen of the anti-oil sands movement. He thinks the exploitation of the sands would make it impossible for America to meet its CO2-reduction targets.
    - Ecologists are also worried about the fate of wetlands and water reservoirs along the route of the planned pipeline, including the Ogallala aquifer, which supplies no fewer than eight US states with water.
    - Increase in C02 Criticism of the plans is also coming from Europe. Only last week the European Commission decided to define oil extracted from oil sands as particularly harmful to the environment.
    - Mixed with water, sand and clay, it ends up in huge storage basins that already span an area of about 170 square kilometers (65 square miles) in Alberta. The sand quickly sinks to the bottom, leaving a gel-like suspension of minute particulate matter that takes up to 30 years to settle.
    - The sludge also contains heavy metals and chemicals. Environmentalists accuse the operators of allowing some of the water to seep into the ground. Indeed, elevated concentrations of lead, cadmium and mercury have been measured in the nearby Athabasca River and Canadian Indians speak of deformed fish and complain that their people are contracting rare forms of cancer. A definitive connection with the oil sands extraction, however, has not yet been made.
    - Last October, 350 ducks landed here during a hailstorm. Their feathers covered in bitumen, they all had to be euthanized. Hollow shots from propane canons now echo across the seemingly endless plains to frighten other birds away. Scarecrows tied to oil barrels bob gently on the ponds.
    - Environmentalists say this is all just greenwashing. “This land is definitely being destroyed forever,
    - This land is expropriated land from Canada’s native
    A cemetery now lies in the middle of the industrial complex on a tiny square of land spared from the lumberjacks. Now the native Indians must pass directly by the oil tanks to honor their dead.
    - Natural gas is burned to bring the machines up to their operating temperature. In fact the energy equivalent of a barrel of oil is needed to recover 10 barrels of oil. The European Commission has calculated that recovering oil from oil sands is about 22 percent more harmful to the environment than conventional crude oil. The US Environmental Protection Agency has even suggested it creates 82 percent more greenhouse gas emissions.
    - Heating bitumen also releases sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxides and heavy metals into the air, all of which later return to earth as acid rain. The Canadian Ministry for Natural – - Resources has confirmed that drilling generates twice the emissions as conventional oil production

    Worse still, it’s not clear how drilling affects the water table. The independent Council of Canadian Academies regrets that such information is “absent.”

  26. environmentalist-kh January 9, 2012 at 04:01

    looking at the comments that everyone is writing i will assume some things….none of you have vehicles that burn oil and gas. you do not buy anything plastic or use any electricity in your homes. i’m assuming you are all full fledged hippies living in tents leaving no footprint on this earth, and you are definitely not consuming any benefits that the oil and gas industry has to offer….because that would be a little hypocritical don’t you think? how is your computer running right now?
    i encourage you all to forget about most of the luxuries you enjoy today because they rely hugely on the production of oil and gas. if you hate the oilsands so much stop supporting them….hypocrisy at it’s finest….

    we will all consume oil and gas, tarsands, oilsands etc etc products till the day we die. that being said, wouldn’t you want these products to come from companies and countries that have environmental legislation and accountability???

    countries like china and nigeria refuse to join world environmental treaties or organizations (kyoto) and continue producing oil in the most environmentally degrading ways possible with no legislation or compliance monitoring… but canada being a responsible, rich, and prosperous country will take the heat and critisism from the rest of the world over their tarsands/oilsands projects as if they are destroying the entire earth.

    right after the huge BP spill happened in the gulf, environmental groups needed to take the spotlight off of the themselves south of the border and made videos, television advertisements, billboards to point fingers at the alberta oilsands criticizing how ‘bad’ they are… all the while millions of gallons of oil are pouring into the ocean because of a completely avoidable problem. but oh no, ‘blame canada!’

    i am proud to come from a province that practices due diligence, has incredible environmental legislation, and has an entire industry assigned to making sure companies are environmentally compliant in every aspect of producing oil and gas.

    i entirely support the progression of finding alternative energy sources which do not emit the great amounts of greenhouse gases that the oil and gas industry does…but i can also put into perspective where we sit on the world scale.

    i liked this article and how the whole ‘perspective’ topic was brought up, but it did not excuse the fact that we need to always strive to do better! it aimed to diminish the negative connotation around the oilsands by putting it into perspective on the world front. i hope people will do some research and visit the oil/tarsands before they form such narrow minded, uneducated opinions.

    well, that was my rant…this topic gets my blood boiling :)

    Environmental Conservation and Reclamation Specialist

    • The issue at hand is not that we don’t want technology, industry or prosperity for Canadians, we just don’t want short sighted planning to sacrifice them for future generations. Is it hypocrisy to disagree with a system that essentially gives you no other choice?

      While I agree that the tar sands are less bad than other oil/gas operations, it is misleading to compare China’s coal power generation to Aberta’s tar sands heavy crude extraction; apples to oranges. In fact the idea of calculating who’s the best polluter is ludicrous.

      As far as I’m concerned the spin machine that is EthicalOil.org does Canadians a diservice as they help to expand tar sands production. Why does oil need such a good marketing team if, as you say, everyone needs it anyways? I say invest those marketing dollars into renewables, and extract the oil slower. After all… the longer it sits in the ground the more valuable it becomes right?

    • “looking at the comments that everyone is writing i will assume some things….none of you have vehicles that burn oil and gas. you do not buy anything plastic or use any electricity in your homes.”

      If there was no oil on that planet we wouldn’t walk accross countries or swimm accross seas…………. we would have cars we ANOTHER form of fuel. Like electricity. And not all of the countries in the world produce their electricity with oil like the US do. What we are saying is not that people should live without electricity or cars, these things work with oil because we choose to make them work with oil.

      And YOU are complaining about Saudi Arabia producing all the oil. The fact is that you DO still use your car to go to your workplace and still use that oil, and you say that others are hypocritical if they complain for other reasons but still do exactly the same thing as you do ?? What’s the matter ? You didn’t find how to switch your brain on or what ?

      And by the way, this article is full of bs. If they know that china is building two plants a week, why don’t they know the sizes of these plants as well and have to make assumptions ???

      And yes, of course China is evil and Canadians are lumberjacks who travel in canoes…

      And the US are producing 19.1 tons of CO2 per inhabitant per year (first producer in the world) and China only 4.5. I don’t see where China is the problem here….
      Yes, there are a lot of inhabitants in China. But what if we split China in many small regions and compare each of them to the US ? The US would suddenly become the biggest producer ? What if we take all occidental countries together and compare them to China ? This is meaningless…………..

    • The Greenies should take a hike from Boyle Ab. to Mildred Lake Ab.and when they get there,next year,then comment on how much valuable bush the oil sands destroy. After that they could measure how much water is left in the Athabaska before it ends up in the salty Arctic Ocean.

  27. I am grateful for the people and organizations that are providing a balance to the ultra left, radical environmentalist rhetoric that dominates this debate. We need people of courage and conviction to challenge the extreme views of the radical environmentalists and far leftists. What is the real agenda of those who are propogating the pseudo science that has been swallowed hook line and sinker by a large portion of the public? It is frightening to consider how the masses are prepared to drink the man made global warming cool aid without a discussion or evaluation of the facts.

    I am frustrated by the lack of reasoned debate about the issue of man made global warming. Why is there not an educated discourse on the science of carbon emissions and its alleged link to global warming? There are few people who could provide a clear and cogent arguement from scientific facts on the subject simply because the facts are so difficult to find.

    I am reasonably concerned about environmental issues but I am more concerned about the extremist views that are being adopted by an ever increasing number of the general population. This debate provides insight into the human psyche and our prevelance for group think. Let’s gather the real facts and engage our critical thinking faculties to come to conclusions that represent what is really happening to the environment and what we can really control. Let us also use the same process to evaluate the development of the great resource that the people of Alberta have the privelege to steward.

  28. China 1.34 billion people … 100 – 200 Megatonnes
    Canada 34 million people (2.5% that of China) … 45 Megatonnes (50% that of China)

    Something seems a little off, no?

    Two wrongs make a right? Or is it your wrong is worse than mine, therefore, I’m right?

    • Yes, something does seem a little off: Your numbers. More than a little actually.

      It is NOT wrong to warm your homes, transport your goods, plant and harvest crops, smelt metals, generate electricty, engage in homebuilding and manufactury. Hydrocarbons have enabled people to do these things and so to develop from mere subsistence living to our modern western world where even poor people are prosperous and healthy by standards from a hundred years ago or by the present standards of peoples who have not yet benefited from the energy provided by fossil fuels. And it is NOT wrong for Canada to provide engergy products to people who want to improve their standard of living.

      So, no, Realist, you’re not right. And you’re not even a realist.

  29. if we’re comparing ourselves to China, why not mention the fact that China is also investing more in renewables energy sources like wind and solar than any other nation?

  30. A Concerned Canadian January 16, 2012 at 16:50

    As public hearings on the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline begin, it’s clear that this controversial project will stir up headlines for months to come. The Conservative federal government has done an impressive job of getting all their ducks in a row to ram this pipeline through – no matter how many laws and treaties they break.

    Proponents of tar sand development and the NG pipeline claim that oil from the Alberta tar sands is “ethical” oil. Unbelievably giant swaths of land must be destroyed to access it, followed by adding absurd amounts of energy and fresh water just to release the crude bitumen from the sand. From there, the plan is to transport this dirtiest of oils through the Northern Gateway Pipeline, over the unceded land of First Nations who oppose the pipeline, to the port of Kitimat BC, where it will be loaded onto super-tankers the size of which we have never seen on our coasts. These tankers are expected to navigate almost daily through the dangerously narrow passages of the northern BC coastline (the entirety of which currently has a ban on oil tanker traffic) and off to China for refining. China – a country in which blue skies exist only in pictures for many cities, thanks to heavy air pollution from burning fossil fuels.

    A point to ponder: Experts who’ve taken into account the size of the tankers along with the dangerous waters they’ll be required to navigate – have stated that tanker accidents would be inevitable. Also consider that the Exxon Valdez was much smaller than the tankers that would service Kitimat. The extent of Alaskan coastline that was affected by the Exxon Valdez spill was as large as the entire BC coast. In fewer words: One tanker spill could single-handedly wipe out the entire west coast of Canada.

    When we consider the inefficiency of production, the flagrant disregard of the rights of First Nations, the dangers in transport, and the already extreme pollution that exists at the end of it’s journey – how can we call this oil “ethical”?

    There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that the world needs oil, and it will more than likely need plenty of oil for a long time to come. But to continue on our reckless path of over-consumption by allowing the development of the Alberta tar sands, is akin to slamming our collective feet down on the accelerator of a speeding car on a collision course. Oil reserves are finite. We can chose today to slowly wean ourselves from our addiction to oil – or we can force our children to do it the very hard way. We don’t have all the answers yet, but we’re smart – and the sooner we act to embrace new technologies, new ways of living and thinking – the easier it will be for all of us.

  31. a concerned canadian January 16, 2012 at 16:51

    As public hearings on the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline begin, it’s clear that this controversial project will stir up headlines for months to come. The Conservative federal government has done an impressive job of getting all their ducks in a row to ram this pipeline through – no matter how many laws and treaties they break.

    Proponents of tar sand development and the NG pipeline claim that oil from the Alberta tar sands is “ethical” oil. Unbelievably giant swaths of land must be destroyed to access it, followed by adding absurd amounts of energy and fresh water just to release the crude bitumen from the sand. From there, the plan is to transport this dirtiest of oils through the Northern Gateway Pipeline, over the unceded land of First Nations who oppose the pipeline, to the port of Kitimat BC, where it will be loaded onto super-tankers the size of which we have never seen on our coasts. These tankers are expected to navigate almost daily through the dangerously narrow passages of the northern BC coastline (the entirety of which currently has a ban on oil tanker traffic) and off to China for refining. China – a country in which blue skies exist only in pictures for many cities, thanks to heavy air pollution from burning fossil fuels.

    A point to ponder: Experts who’ve taken into account the size of the tankers along with the dangerous waters they’ll be required to navigate – have stated that tanker accidents would be inevitable. Also consider that the Exxon Valdez was much smaller than the tankers that would service Kitimat. The extent of Alaskan coastline that was affected by the Exxon Valdez spill was as large as the entire BC coast. In fewer words: One tanker spill could single-handedly wipe out the entire west coast of Canada.

    When we consider the inefficiency of production, the flagrant disregard of the rights of First Nations, the dangers in transport, and the already extreme pollution that exists at the end of it’s journey – how can we call this oil “ethical”?

    There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that the world needs oil, and it will more than likely need plenty of oil for a long time to come. But to continue on our reckless path of over-consumption by allowing the development of the Alberta tar sands, is akin to slamming our collective feet down on the accelerator of a speeding car on a collision course. Oil reserves are finite. We can chose today to slowly wean ourselves from our addiction to oil – or we can force our children to do it the very hard way. We don’t have all the answers yet, but we’re smart – and the sooner we act to embrace new technologies, new ways of living and thinking – the easier it will be for all of us.

  32. As public hearings on the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline begin, it’s clear that this controversial project will stir up headlines for months to come. The Conservative federal government has done an impressive job of getting all their ducks in a row to ram this pipeline through – no matter how many laws and treaties they break.

    Proponents of tar sand development and the NG pipeline claim that oil from the Alberta tar sands is “ethical” oil. Unbelievably giant swaths of land must be destroyed to access it, followed by adding absurd amounts of energy and fresh water just to release the crude bitumen from the sand. From there, the plan is to transport this dirtiest of oils through the Northern Gateway Pipeline, over the unceded land of First Nations who oppose the pipeline, to the port of Kitimat BC, where it will be loaded onto super-tankers the size of which we have never seen on our coasts. These tankers are expected to navigate almost daily through the dangerously narrow passages of the northern BC coastline (the entirety of which currently has a ban on oil tanker traffic) and off to China for refining. China – a country in which blue skies exist only in pictures for many cities, thanks to heavy air pollution from burning fossil fuels.

    A point to ponder: Experts who’ve taken into account the size of the tankers along with the dangerous waters they’ll be required to navigate – have stated that tanker accidents would be inevitable. Also consider that the Exxon Valdez was much smaller than the tankers that would service Kitimat. The extent of Alaskan coastline that was affected by the Exxon Valdez spill was as large as the entire BC coast. In fewer words: One tanker spill could single-handedly wipe out the entire west coast of Canada.

    When we consider the inefficiency of production, the flagrant disregard of the rights of First Nations, the dangers in transport, and the already extreme pollution that exists at the end of it’s journey – how can we call this oil “ethical”?

    There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that the world needs oil, and it will more than likely need plenty of oil for a long time to come. But to continue on our reckless path of over-consumption by allowing the development of the Alberta tar sands, is akin to slamming our collective feet down on the accelerator of a speeding car on a collision course. Oil reserves are finite. We can chose today to slowly wean ourselves from our addiction to oil – or we can force our children to do it the very hard way. We don’t have all the answers yet, but we’re smart – and the sooner we act to embrace new technologies, new ways of living and thinking – the easier it will be for all of us.

  33. “Realist”
    China – 7.7 Gtonnes per year
    Canada – 0.5 Gtonnes per year

    Do better research (http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2011/jan/31/world-carbon-dioxide-emissions-country-data-co2)

    There are much more important environmental issues than GHG emissions. Mercury, arsenic, dioxins, eutrophication of our fresh water supplies, acid rain emissions, synthetic hormones in sewage and smog are all much more pressing issues that are almost completely being dominated today by Climate Change radicalists!

    The worst thing to ever happen to the Environmental Movement is Climate Change radicalists!! This coming from a Ph.D. Environmental Scientist!

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