The next time Big Oil and those in their thrall, including Messrs. Harper & Ignatieff, give you the standard drivel about how CCS, carbon capture & sequestration, is going to redeem the Athabasca Tar Sands disaster, tell'em to look Down Under.
Australia. The Gorgon natural gas field off Barrow Island. Chevron, Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell have agreed to invest in the project - but their money comes with a hitch as Big Oil money almost always does.
In the case of Australia's Gorgon gas field the hitch is an indemnity against damages from all that sequestered carbon dioxide escaping hundreds of years into the future. And that indemnity comes from where? Why, from the Australian taxpayers of course. The Fossil Fuelers negotiated an indemnity from the Australian government for the toxic time bomb they'll be creating underground.
Australian energy minister Martin Ferguson boasts that the Gorgon and similar LNG projects will transform Australia into an "energy superpower." Sound familiar?
The Australian government says "no worries" to the idea of anything ever, ever going wrong with the sequestered CO2 although the Gorgon field sits astride geological fault lines and there have been eight tremors there over the past 30-years.
If they got away with it in Australia, how long before Alberta's Oil Patch goes after Alberta and Ottawa for the same sweetheart deal?
And what about that other ticking time bomb underground, the tailings ponds leaking into the Athabasca watershed? At "Canadasoilsands.ca", the oil companies admit that it will take years just to empty out the toxic water, before any work can even begin. Then the land will be "reclaimed" by reforesting with mixed forest which will also take decades to mature. Of course, the original ecosystem can never be restored.
Oh, haven't you heard? They've got a magic bullet for that too. It's a microbe that simply eats up all that nasty stuff and transforms those ponds into fish farms. Whenever Big Oil has an intractible, potentially lethal mess on its hands, there's always a magic cure - that never seems to materialize.
Those three companies are related. For example Tim Mellon's (Exxon) ex-wife owns Shell....why wouldn't they be all cozy with each other. The more they collaborate, the more it frightens governments. Norway is the prime example of holdout. Norway told Exxon, if you won't give us 80% we don't deal. It's the same with this indemnity against damages in Australia. Doesn't it stand to reason if the Australian Government were to say we say what happens in such a deal, these oil companies wouldn't be able to stand not extracting? They have oil running in their vains. Without it, they cannot exist. It's time oil companies were challenged. It is nothing but disgusting the way governments are playing cowards with regards the environment. A. Morris
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