by A. Siegel, "Get Energy Smart! NOW!" blog, February 19, 2013
Like it or not, fossil fuels are going to remain the world’s dominant energy source for the foreseeable future, and we are far better off getting our oil from Canada than, say, Venezuela.
the climate change effects of tar sands oil are, all in all, pretty small.
Alberta’s oil sands represent a significant tonnage of carbon. With today’s technology there are roughly 170 billion barrels of oil to be recovered in the tar sands, and an additional 1.63 trillion barrels worth underground if every last bit of bitumen could be separated from sand. “The amount of CO2 locked up in Alberta tar sands is enormous,” notes mechanical engineer John Abraham of the University of Saint Thomas in Minnesota, another signer of the Keystone protest letter from scientists. “If we burn all the tar sand oil, the temperature rise, just from burning that tar sand, will be half of what we’ve already seen”—an estimated additional nearly 0.4 degree C from Alberta alone.
very clear about what they hope to accomplish. Oil companies have invested upward of $100 billion to extract the unconventional oil in the sands. A pipeline is the only way to export it. The Keystone pipeline is Canada’s Plan A. Plan B is a pipeline to British Columbia, which would get the oil to China. If the president blocks Keystone, and the First Nation tribes continue their staunch opposition to the western pipeline, then Canada will have the second largest oil reserves in the world — and no place to sell it. The assumption of the activists is that by choking off the supply of new oil sources like the tar sands, the U.S. — and maybe the world — will be forced to transition more quickly to green energy.
The emphasis should be on demand, not supply. If the U.S. stopped consuming so much of the world’s oil, the economic need for the tar sands would evaporate.
like to see oil companies pay a fee, which would rise annually, based on carbon emissions. He said that such a tax could reduce emissions by 30% within 10 years. Well, maybe. But it would also likely make the expensive tar sands oil more viable