McCain and the Tar Sands
Posted by mhudema on June 22, 2008
Canada has the world's largest oil reserve outside of Saudi Arabia Production of this unconventional oil generates three times as much greenhouse gas as conventional oil production OTTAWA, June 20 /PRNewswire/ - In a speech today in Canada's capital, US presidential candidate Senator John McCain is set to praise secure trade relations between the US and Canada, noting Canada's abundant and secure energy supply. But the full story includes very real threats from Canada's oil supply, most of which comes from the unconventional Tar Sands, where producing a barrel of oil leads to almost three times the greenhouse gas emissions as producing a barrel of conventional oil. "It's a little known fact that Canada provides the US with the most carbon-intensive fossil fuel on the planet and if that's not a security threat, then what is?" said Will Craven of ForestEthics in San Francisco. The Tar Sands development in Alberta is Canada's fastest-growing greenhouse gas emitter. This 'unconventional oil' is located in tarry soil rather than pooled as liquid beneath the surface. Extracting and refining Tar Sands oil is the most polluting and carbon intensive oil process on earth. Giant toxic tailings lakes have been created that are already so big you can see them from space, and if development plans go forward, an area the size of Florida will be turned into a 'sacrifice zone.' "Looking to Canada's Tar Sands to guarantee US energy security puts candidates on a collision course with their commitments to tackle global warming," said Aaron Freeman of Environmental Defence Canada. "You can't talk about energy security without including environmental security." In April, a blue-ribbon panel of retired U.S. military leaders, including ex-Army chief of staff Gordon Sullivan and President George W. Bush's ex-Mid-East peace envoy Anthony Zinni, urged the United States to address global warming more forcefully, citing global political instability and decreased national security as potential consequences of not dealing with the threat. ForestEthics and Environmental Defence Canada and other NGO's are calling on the Canadian government to ensure a cap and trade program that doesn't continue to allow "intensity based targets" (Canada's current position). Intensity targets require industry to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases per unit of production. However, overall emissions are allowed to continue to increase.