canada tar sands

Wed, 2013-03-06 05:00Guest
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People in Glass Houses Should Not Throw "Boneheads"

This is a guest post by economist James P. Barrett, Ph.D.

“Utterly Boneheaded.” That is how Joe Nocera, writing in The New York Times characterized James Hansen (head of NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies), Bill McKibben (founder of 350.org) and other climate change activists opposing the Keystone XL pipeline.

If you haven’t been following it, the pipeline in question would bring something called bitumen, extracted from oil soaked sands in Canada, to U.S. refineries in Texas where they would turn it into oil products for sale on international markets.

If they stop the pipeline to Texas, activists will force oil companies to look at a more expensive plan to build a pipeline to British Columbia and ship the bitumen from there to refineries in China, an alternative that is facing its own opposition within Canada.

What Nocera thinks is boneheaded is not so much that activists want to reduce oil consumption and carbon emissions per se, but their strategy overall. As long as the demand for oil keeps going up, oil producers will keep developing unconventional oil reserves like the Canadian tar sands in question. In Nocera’s view, attacking the pipeline and the tar sands won’t help as long as the demand for oil is strong and growing. The problem, as he sees it is demand, not supply.

Nocera is right, but only to the extent that his point is meaningless.

Mon, 2010-07-19 14:26Kevin Grandia
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Bombshell: Canadian Gov't Committee Tears Up Critical Tar Sands Report

There is spin-doctoring an issue and then there is just tearing up evidence.

Two weeks ago there was news that Canada’s Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development had literally torn up draft copies of a report looking into the impacts the country’s massive tar sands operations were having on the fresh water supply.

Writing on the Tyee, author and tar sands expert Andrew Nikiforuk outlines in shocking detail just how much evidence was covered up by the Committee.

It is well worth the read:  What Those Who Killed the Tar Sands Report Don’t Want You to Know

Tue, 2010-07-06 13:45Kevin Grandia
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Powerful US Congressman Sends Serious Opposition to Canada Oil Sands Pipeline

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), a senior member of Congress and chair of the powerful Congressional Committee on Energy and Commerce has penned a public letter to the Secretary of State, Hilary Rodham Clinton, in which he states strong opposition to a planned oil pipeline that would transport Canada’s controversial tar sands oil to the US Gulf Coast.

In the letter Waxman writes:

The State Department’s decision on whether to permit this pipeline represents a critical choice about America’s energy future.

This pipeline is a multi-billion dollar investment to expand our reliance on the dirtiest source of transportation fuel currently available. While I strongly support the President’s efforts to move America to a clean energy economy, I am concerned that the Keystone XL pipeline would be a step in the wrong direction. (hftsuuuttt)

You can download a full PDF copy of the letter from Waxman to Clinton here.

Sun, 2009-06-07 17:14Mitchell Anderson
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Carbon Capture Won't Solve the Tar Sands - Canada's Environment Minister

it’s official. Canadian Environment Minster Jim Prentice fessed up to what experts have been saying all along: that carbon capture and storage (CSS) is close to useless for mitigating the massive emissions from the Alberta tar sands.

Canadian Prime Minister Harper is no doubt pissed that his potential leadership rival has gone off message on such an important issue of spin.

In an editorial board meeting with Globe and Mail Prentice admitted: “CCS is not the silver bullet in the oil sands.”

Strange. That’s not what his boss said when he committed at least $650 million in taxpayer’s dollars towards this bitumen boondoggle. Harper is a big booster of CSS, stating that:

“This new technology, carbon capture and storage, when fully commercialized … will collect carbon dioxide emissions from oilsands operations and coal-fired electrical plants and seal them deep underground.”

It also obvious that Harper either didn’t read, or care about, the secret memo from his own scientists several months earlier stating exactly the opposite:

“Only a small percentage of emitted CO2 is ‘capturable’ since most emissions aren’t pure enough,” the notes say. “Only limited near-term opportunities exist in the oilsands and they largely relate to upgrader facilities.”

Fri, 2008-07-04 15:12Terrance Berg
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Top 10 Facts About the Alberta Oil Sands

We started a short and sweet resource page on the environmental impacts of the Canada Oil Sands operation. If you would like to add a link to further resources drop us a line at: desmogblog [at] gmail [dot] com or leave it in the comment section below.
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