The report is based on research – dubbed “controversial” by the Sun – contained in a 2001 University of British Columbia master’s thesis published last summer in the Journal of the American Water Resources Association. The thesis says there are going to be even more massive mudslides and floods of the kind seen across southern B.C. “If we are experiencing climate change,” said Robert Millar, UBC civil engineering professor, “then engineers are using old data to design for future conditions that may not be valid.” The UBC study jolted skeptics at the Greater Vancouver Regional District into a mad scramble of damage control. Not surprisingly, the GVRD’s findings were “at odds” with those at UBC. With the back of its hand, the GVRD dismissed the UBC research as merely “short-term changes.” The records used for UBC’s analysis, moreover “are simply too short to be meaningful.” It also warned that “A long-term rise in the magnitude of high intensity rainfall events could … necessitate the replacement of the storm water and sewerage drainage, which would be associated with very high costs.”
Released just days after the Conservative government announced a disappointing plan to restrict smog levels by 2010 and cut greenhouse gases in half by 2050, the Pembina study said companies already spend US$1.75 a barrel to remove lead from gasoline.
For just US $2.50 a barrel, according to the study, they could eliminate 100 per cent of greenhouse-gas pollution from tar sands, which are projected to contribute up to 47 per cent of the growth in Canada’s total emissions between 2003 and 2010 – making them the single-largest contributor to growth in greenhouse-gas pollution.
Failure to take action could render the oil-sands industry the main culprit in undermining Canada’s international climate-change obligations.