Little black lies – The facts and politics of the tar sands

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Over the last year pundits and advocates on both sides of the controversy have made claims and counter claims about the ongoing damage to the Alberta ecology and the greenhouse gas contribution resulting from the ever accelerating mining of the tar sands.   A recently published short book by Jeff Gailus provides a comprehensive review of the facts and politics surrounding this arguably very dirty source of oil.  Gailus takes the reader through all of the high profile publications and editorials relevant to the tar sands and the Keystone XL pipeline.   He details the factual errors and hyperbole emanating from proponents and opponents.  To be sure, the corporations and governments responsible for creating this ecological disaster have committed the most egregious distortions of the science.  However, the environmental camp is guilty of it own hyperbole in an effort to affectively engage the public.  Not surprisingly, industry and government have loudly cried fowl at the marketing tactics employed by environmental advocates, while giving themselves a pass on their numerous misrepresentations of the facts.  The Alberta government website on the tar sands is a study in propaganda at its best. Gailus does an excellent job of taking the reader through each of the point-counterpoint arguments about the tar sands.  I recommend this book as the definitive source for accurate  information on this unfolding ecological disaster. Continue reading “Little black lies – The facts and politics of the tar sands”

Strange logic on the Keystone XL

As the end game on the Keystone XL pipeline approaches, various pundits and editorial boards have argued that we should move forward with the pipeline.  The Keystone XL extension of an existing pipeline would carry oil from the Canadian tar sands to Gulf Coast refineries. Obama is likely to make a decision on whether or not to allow the pipeline to be built within the next month or so.  These arguments make a few key points, which I will review here by focusing on two recent editorials.  The twisted logic in these leaves me wondering if the authors really think that their audience is incapable of parsing the truth.   I find it inconceivable that thoughtful readers can endorse this pipeline while simultaneously knowing how important it is that we address climate change. Continue reading “Strange logic on the Keystone XL”

The case for leaving the carbon in the ground

Jim Hansen has used the phrase “essentially game over” when referring to the greenhouse gas emissions that would ensue from the use of Tar Sands oil as an energy source.  To be sure, there is one heck of a lot of carbon in this one source, and Bill McKibben has referred to the proposed pipeline as the “fuse to the biggest carbon bomb on the planet.” Continue reading “The case for leaving the carbon in the ground”