Canada Wastes No Time in Pushing Dirty Oil on Obama

Written by Brant Olson

Topics: Oil

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A report from the Globe and Mail today underscores just how important dirty oil is to Canada’s designs on the US energy markets:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is proposing to strike a joint climate-change pact with president-elect Barack Obama, an initiative that would seek to protect Alberta’s oil sands projects from potentially tough new U.S. climate-change rules by offering a secure North American energy supply.

This will be *the* tell-tale on Obama’s ability to push new energy solutions past the considerable influence of the oil majors. Cheap oil is out. What’s left is much more energy intensive to produce. Industry distracts policymakers with the promise of Carbon Capture and Storage.  But even if CCS comes to pass (not bloody likely, but let’s say they make it in 2-3 decades from now, best case) and even if its implementation brings the carbon intensity of heavy crudes into line with conventional stuff, we’re only back to square one on the real problem–breaking free of a fossil-fueled economy. In fact, we’re two steps back because we’ve stranded our investments in an energy infrastructure that won’t outlast global warming.

One early sign of  how Obama will respond will be his selection for the top spot on Climate in the new Administration.  No doubt Canada’s oil lobby are rooting against reports that Mary Nichols is on the short list.  As head honcho at the California Air Resources Board, she’s overseen development of the Low Carbon Fuel Standard. Recently released drafts seek to reduce the carbon footprint of California’s transportation sector by imposing penalties on refineries that choose to process dirty crudes like those from Canada’s tar sands.  It’s a bold move, and target #1 for Canada’s oil lobby in the US.

1 Comment For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. Valeria says:

    Greg, we’ve had this same conversation berofe, and I presented you with facts and figures. I’ve also had the conversation about gas prices in relation to oil with Larry. Both of you are highly mistaken in your data that you have presented here at FA.For example, ANWR is estimated to hold between 8-20 Billion barrels of currently recoverable oil, depending on whose data you are looking at. The accepted amount is roughly 12 Billion. At the height of production, it is estimated to be able to produce around 1.5 Million barrels/day. That translates to nearly 22 years worth of production. That amount of oil per day would drop our imports from roughly 9Million barrels a day, to 7.5. That amount is also roughly equivalent to the amount of oil production from Libya, during times of full production there. Look up the price of a barrel of oil prior to any trouble starting in Libya, and the price today. Now, tell us again how production of our own reserves wouldn’t affect world oil prices, or our own retail price of gasoline. And that doesn’t even include the 80Billion or so barrels, within U.S. waters, just off our coasts. The amount of production possible isn’t even known, as the number of wells that could draw the oil could vary greatly, depending on the extent of the field(s). And, that doesn’t even include the 800 Billion equivalent barrels of oil locked up in oil shale, within our borders. The technology to draw the oil out is getting better every day.They either don’t care or haven’t got a clue about what needs to be done to prepare for the nation’s long-term energy future. They find Obama’s energy policy incomprehensible because the thinking behind it doesn’t revolve soley around maximized profits in the short term here-and-now. They can’t comprehend a universe that doesn’t revolve around a dollar sign. That paragraph is filled with ignorance.-One, simply because some people wish to tap into our own resources, instead of relying on parts of the world either in turmoil, or one step away from it, doesn’t mean that they don’t care about the future. You cannot force technology to advance at some designed pace set by people who don’t have a clue about the technology in the first place. It advances at it’s own pace, dependent on many factors, including the economic viability of the technology.-Two, it isn’t the dollar sign. It’s the ability to use our resources, for our own countries needs, so that life in general can be affordable. These people might just be the next generation’s worst enemies. Not a chance. The democrat congress who helped Obama to outrageous budget deficits, and now don’t want to cut back on the spending, have already claimed that crown.Reply

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