Keystone follies: Canadian oil sands not a major source of climate change – by Susan McArthur and Ian Macgregor (National Post – April 9, 2013)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

U.S., Chinese coal plants produce far more carbon dioxide

Canada’s oil sands seem to attract lies, half truths and sheer nonsense from every corner, including from Canadians themselves. The current hullabaloo regarding the Keystone pipeline and Canadian oil sands is to climate change as a drop of water is to the ocean.

The scientific consensus is that CO2 is contributing to global warming which is bad for the planet and our children. If CO2 is the problem policy makers and pundits should focus the most offensive CO2 perpetrators. U.S. coal-fired power plants emit 2000 million tonnes of CO2 per year vs the oil sands which emit 40 million tonnes per year.

U.S. coal-fired electricity plants emit 50 times more CO2 per year than oil produced from the Canadian oil sands. If you add China into the global warning equation we are talking about 100 times more CO2 per year as a result of Chinese coal fired plants than Canadian oil sands.

Canada’s boreal forest is a national treasure. The boreal forest stretches 10,000 kilometres across Canada, is an important absorber of the world’s CO2 and is home to more than 85 species of mammals, 130 species of fish, 300 species of birds and a whopping 32,000 species of insects. According to TreeHugger, Canada’s boreal forest is still 91% intact vs only 5% in Scandinavia.

Quebec is Canada’s biggest Boreal offender having flooded 11,000 square kilometres when it built its massive hydro power facilities. Industry is often the beneficiary of cheap hydro power in Quebec. In contrast, the boreal footprint impacted by oil sands development is only 715 square kilometres or less than 10% of Quebec’s.

As for environmental rules and regulations which pertain to oil production, Canada is lily white compared to its global peers. For example, Canada began regulating sulphur emissions associated with producing oil and gas long before any other country and still leads the U.S. by a wide margin.

Our oil sands bitumen has a lower environmental and CO2 impact than California heavy oil which emits 9% more CO2. And our environmental practices are head and shoulders above oil-producing countries like Venezuela which feed the U.S. Gulf Coast refineries.

For the rest of this article, click here: http://opinion.financialpost.com/2013/04/08/keystone-follies-canadian-oil-sands-not-causing-climate-change/

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