Monday, February 20, 2012

The Tar Sands - Environmentally Inconsequential

University of Victoria professor Andrew Weaver has supposedly dropped a bombshell - the Athabasca Tar Sands are inconsequential to the problem of global warming.   Or that is at least what the reporter who crafted the story wants you to believe.

I have linked to the story from the Globe & Mail and I'll let you come to your own conclusions.   I was struck as much by what was left out of the report as what was actually said and how even that was pretty obviously spun.

What it does seem to claim is that coal is far more worrisome in terms of carbon emissions than oil.   Well, duh.   And, perhaps, that Weaver thinks the Tar Sands problems are limited to carbon emissions which I think is a viewpoint the Canadian Press reporter chose to spin.

Anyway, there it is.   For me the article was a bit like one of those coffee shop flyers with the "spot the differences" cartoon.  If you want a bit of fun, go through it yourself and see how many issues and questions are missing from the piece that might otherwise alter the tone of the article.

7 comments:

Edstock said...

In 20 years, 30 at the most, the Tar Sands will be a white elephant, obsolete, abandoned, leaving Alberta with an ecological mess and no real income from it.

And almost nobody sees it coming. I love technological ignorance.

The Mound of Sound said...

Nobody in any leadership position is willing to acknowledge it. Part and parcel of a petro-state in which planning is based on the next electoral cycle. Everything just gets kicked down the road.

Anonymous said...

I think the Canadian Press reporter chose to spin this study as a pro-tarsands piece. However, it is clear that the scientist, Weaver, did not intend to give that impression:

“This idea that we’re going to somehow run out of coal and natural gas and fossil fuels [oil, bitumen] is really misplaced. We’ll run out of human ability to live on the planet long before we run out of them.

“I have always said that the tar sands are a symptom of a very big problem. The problem is dependence on fossil fuels.”

And there is Weaver's message. We cannot continue to depend on fossil fuels. And if we do, we - as a species - will die.

Oemissions said...

Tarsands Emissions and Dr Weaver:
The way this info on the tarsands emissions has been presented is disturbing.
It sounds like a Go Ahead for this project even tho we have spent the last year or 2 learning how destructive they are . We need to Get Off Oil.
This is NOT holistic science. They are only talking in terms of emissions.
Are they measuring the destructive impacts to the environment,the people and other creatures.?
Are they measuring all the extras in pollution that come with producing and using automobiles, plastics, etc . ?
A rise in temperature is one concern but everyday life and lifestyles from manufacturing and use of products is just as important.
Carry On Folks with your destructive habits is a disturbing message,
In the US, there are now per capita 869 vehicles for every 1000 persons.
That makes for a crazy habitat, noisy, stressful and toxic.
Then there are the FERTILIZERS made from oil that spoil our SOIL
Weave a better web,Andrew· 1

The Mound of Sound said...

I'm waiting for a comprehensive discussion from Andrew Weaver himself. At this point he has an obligation to respond to the message attributed to him by this reporter. Were his remarks taken out of context and, if so, what was he really saying?

This morning I've posted a piece about a secret Privy Council Office report on future Tar Sands emissions and other environmental threats that Harper received last March. It goes along the lines of the comment Ed wrote above.

What also troubles me about this Weaver story is that it is akin to saying "sure I drive a 10 mpg Dodge Durango and sure it has horrible emissions but that doesn't count because it's just me."

Anyong said...

Please go to "The Current" on CBC radio.....broadcast this morning. There was an interview with the scientist himself. He does not let the Tar Sands off the hook. He talks about how coal including the use of in Canada is the most lethal villain to the environment for which was mentioned to you some time ago and for which you bit my head off....but he DOES NOT let the Tar Sands off the hook.

Way Way Up said...

I've lived in Fort McMurray for awhile now roughly 30km from an oil sands project. The sky isn't falling.