Hidden Risk for Canadian Oil Sands: Environmentalism

Includes: OBQI, SU
by: MarkitWacha

I'm just a little concerned that the Canadians will be pressured into joining the Cap and Trade fiasco. If their politicians bow to the pressure, it will cause another energy crisis, since their oil sands are expected to practically replace the lost output coming from the depleting fields of Mexico and elsewhere.

From Climate Ark:

...barrel produces at least 1.3 barrels of fine-tailings toxic waste and an ounce of acid-rain-producing sulphur dioxide. Then it uses up 1,400 cubic feet of natural gas in the upgrading, or a third of the amount of energy the barrel will eventually produce. By the time the sludge is a barrel of processed synthetic crude, it has produced 187 pounds of carbon dioxide, three times as much greenhouse gas as a traditional barrel of oil. And that's before it's burned.

From Oil Shale and Tar Sands Programmatic EIS Information Center:

Currently, tar sands represent about 40% of Canada's oil production, and output is expanding rapidly. Approximately 20% of U.S. crude oil and products come from Canada, and a substantial portion of this amount comes from tar sands.

From SolveClimate.com:

Environmentalists fear at least half of the relatively clean-burning Alaskan North Slope gas will end up fueling tar sands operations in Alberta, where the pipeline will end, instead of coming to the lower 48 states to replace carbon-intensive coal in power plants.

The growth in the tar sands project has been extraordinary. Entire towns have been created because of this relatively new industry. It has to have captured the attention of environmentalists, at least those that aren't comatose. I suspect that the tar sands will be a necessary environmental sacrifice as the world makes the transition to cleaner energy alternatives.

The real question is, will the Canadians see what we're doing with Cap and Trade and then follow suit? That could catastrophically sever the US energy supply in the years to come. The Canadians think about the environment a bit more than Americans, so don't be completely shocked if this were to happen.

The oil resources that remain on the planet are getting harder to access. I expect this to be a positive source of pressure for people around the world to switch to alternative energy sources sooner.