Saturday, February 25, 2012

Weaver's Data is on #tarsands is Incomplete: It's not the Whole Picture

As I predicted, there was much hype this week about Andrew Weaver's research from the oil industry and some specious logic from a few suckered journalists who hopped on the story as a repudiation of exaggerated claims made by environmentalists about the tar sands. But, as Weaver himself points out (, his findings are not a get out of jail card for the tar sands, which still have the fastest growing emissions rate of any project in Canada. The emissions findings do not take into account a host of other factors in the enterprise that contribute to GHGs - among them the well documented extraordinary extraction energy outputs, the costs and intensity of which are only going to  increase as conventional energy continues on its inevitable depletion path,  and the energy outputs associated with trying to combat the negative effects of the environmental and social damage of the project over time -  which are considerable - not to mention the obvious energy refining outputs, energy distribution, and energy transportation costs. So if we were to add all these outputs up plus Weaver's finding, the total emissions output would certainly be significantly higher.  Weaver simply did not handle the media release about his research well.

Note"Bitumen, from which oil is produced, takes more energy per barrel to get at than conventional oil pumped from the ground. Because it needs more energy, bitumen-derived oil produces more greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming than conventional oil." The difference here is what the Harper Regime fails to recognize, wilfully or not. " ... that gap will widen as more steam-driven in-situ production comes on line, since in-situ uses more energy than open-face mining of bitumen." Jeffrey Simpson 

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