Oilsands Unfairly Targeted: Conference Board Report
The Alberta Oil Sands have been a bone of contention for environmentalists for some time. Greenpeace, Al Gore and even President Obama have thrashed the Alberta Oil Sands. A favorite name for environmentalists is Alberta Tar Sands.
The industry maintains that it is developing new technology to capture carbons (carbon sequestration) and has recently partnered with a German company to develop technology to make the oil sands more environmentally friendly.
Canada is a democratic, peaceful country, which makes it an easy target for demonstrations. Recently there were demonstrations at Parliament Hill in Ottawa and Syncrude was required to shut down part of its operation in Fort Mac Murray due to a Greenpeace protest.
A Conference Board report has concluded that the Alberta Oil Sands have been unfairly targeted. The Oil Sands account for about 5% of Canada' carbon emissions, about 40 million tons. During the same period in 2007 road transportation amounted to 137 million tons or 18% of Canada's emissions.
The board concluded that demand for oil and transportation is a larger threat than the Alberta Oil Sands. While the emissions of the Alberta Oil Sands are expected to double in the next decade, better technology to reduce emissions must be introduced. The industry is actively working on this in partnership with a German company.
The board also concluded that the public has to decrease its demand for oil and its driving habits to reduce transportation emissions.
The essence of this story is that all things are interconnected and we each must do our part, without pointing fingers at only one source. There is no free ride for the Oil Sands despite this report. Both the Federal and Provincial governments must continue to demand technological improvements in the production of oil from the Oil Sands. Syncrude has organized a tour briefing tour during 2010 to brief concerned citizens across the country.
The report concluded the oilsands do not produce significantly more greenhouse gases than other sources of oil. It quoted an analysis that when considering the full chain of production, such as emissions created while shipping, refining, and consuming, oilsands crude results in between seven to 21 per cent more carbon than the lowest-emitting crude oil currently refined in the United States.
The board relied on an Environment Canada report that suggested road transportation in Canada in 2007 accounted for 137 million tonnes of emissions, or 18 per cent of Canada's total. The oilsands accounted for 40 million tones in the same period, or five per cent.
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Redwater, Alberta, Canada