Saturday, March 14, 2015
A Closer Look at Oil and Climate Change.
Stephen Harper will not be pleased. The Carnegie Endowment is fingering his cherished Tar Sands.
Not all oil is created equal. Sweet crude, of the Saudi sort, comes out of the ground almost ready to use. It's pumped out of the ground easily, free of most contaminants (sulphur, water, sand, natural gas). The amount of energy required to extract and refine a barrel of oil is modest. That, then, provides the benchmarks by which other oils from other places can be judged.
A new report from the Carnegie Endowment, "Know Your Oil: Creating a Global Oil-Climate Index," evaluates the major oilfields around the world in the context of their respective climate change impacts.
This is research Harper can't suppress. It's available online and it's free of charge. Why does this report matter? It clearly identifies the highest-carbon oil fields, such as our own bitumen fields. If we're to have much hope of avoiding runaway global warming, the highest carbon stuff will have to be left in the ground. These are the "stranded assets" the Bank of England governor, Mark Carney, recently warned about.
For Canada overall there's good news along with the bad. While Athabasca fields are at the upper end of the scale for greenhouse gas emissions, the east coast Hibernia field is second to the lowest. Bad news for Alberta. Good news for Newfoundland & Labrador.