There are few things more destructive and horrifying than Canada’s tar sands, yet the new “Ethical Oil” TV ad airing in Canada right now uses the worst kind of fear mongering to try and sell us on the virtues of tar sands oil.
I hate to even give this video the views it will get by my posting it here, but you really have to see it to believe it:
Given the high-profile protests against expansion of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline currently underway, this pro-tar sands propaganda campaign is most likely designed to push back in support of the pipeline. But like all propaganda, the Ethical Oil campaign is riddled with misinformation and sensationalism designed to appeal to our basest instincts. The folks that created this must be counting on us not bringing our intellects to bear on the issue, because the Ethical Oil campaign is almost absurdly misleading — which is no surprise, really, since there’s nothing ethical at all about this campaign to begin with, as they used stolen and faked photos for many of the print ads.
As with most propaganda, there is a kernel of truth in there: Saudi Arabia is run by a repressive regime, and ending the constant flow of petro-dollars into Saudi bank accounts would be a good thing. We all agree on that. But what the ad conveniently fails to mention is that Keystone XL and the tar sands will not stop the import of oil from “unfriendly” foreign regimes. They toss out this red herring — Saudi Arabia is bad! — and hope you don’t use your brain to evaluate the actual claim being made — Saudi Arabia is bad! Therefore tar sands oil is good.
Per TransCanada’s own research, we know that we’ll have to continue importing just as much oil from Venezuela, Saudi Arabia and other “unfriendly sources” even if we do expand Keystone XL, which is designed to transport tar sands oil from Canada to Gulf Coast refineries. Supremely dirty Canadian tar sands crude will only help keep expanding Gulf Coast refineries running at capacity, it will not replace current oil imports, as you can see in this chart:
What’s more, a report out today by Oil Change International has just exposed the fact that most of the Gulf Coast refineries that Keystone XL would be shipping tar sands oil to are focused on expanding exports to Europe and Latin America. As Oil Change says: “Keystone XL is an export pipeline. … Much of the fuel refined from the pipeline’s heavy crude oil will never reach U.S. drivers’ tanks.”
Keystone XL and the tar sands won’t make us any less dependent on dangerous sources of foreign oil, but they will prolong our addiction to dirty fossil fuels. Here’s the real conclusion the Ethical Oil folks hope you aren’t smart enough to come to on your own: Ending our oil addiction is the only way to stop the flow of petro-dollars into the bank accounts of tyrants and dictators once and for all. Not to mention, it’s vital that we move to clean energy sources immediately if we want to stop climate change from getting out of hand.
Take action now to tell President Obama not to approve the Keystone XL expansion.