On February 19 President Obama will visit Canada. Prime Minister Stephen Harper has asked to discuss a North American agreement on global warming and energy, and it has been widely reported that under such a deal he will seek to shelter the tar sands in Alberta from the same greenhouse gas cuts that other polluters must make.
We can not be on be on the path to fight global warming and build a clean energy future by ignoring the facts. The tar sands are one of the most destructive projects on earth. They produce oil that has three times the carbon impact per barrel in the production process as regular oil while leaving a long term legacy of toxic tailings lakes and Boreal forest destruction.
There is a better way. Both the U.S. and Canada have tremendous economic potential in new energy industries and energy efficiency. The tar sands industry must do its fair share in reducing emissions as we make the transition to a new energy economy in North America.
Tell President Obama that he needs to stay on course to a clean energy future.
This is a new cross-border effort by a whole host of Canadian and US environmental big guns including Greenpeace, Environment Defence, the Dogwood Initiative, etc. aimed at lobbying Obama on the Oil (Tar) sands of Alberta.
A few years ago, only 4% of all Americans knew that Canada was the their largest supplier of oil. So, any efforts aimed at educating Americans on where their oil comes from and the dirtiness of the process involved is welcome.
Once again, I will say that the future of the Oil Sands is not in Canadian hands, but in American hands. No Canadian government will turn off the tap, not now in this recession, not 3 years from now when we are on our next boom. It is going to take American pressure and the institution of a robust climate change mitigation program in the US. We shall see what happens in 2-3 years time.
I do not believe this campaign will make any difference whatsoever, Obama is in Canada for something like 3 hours, and presumably will have other things to talk about.