Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Look Alberta, It's Your Oil But It's Not Your Atmosphere!

Even before the cramped, shaking hand of Stephen Harper inks the next climate change agreement his EnviroStooge Jim Prentice has let the cat out of the bag. When Harper does get around to announcing this country's GHG emissions reductions targets, the Tar Sands are going to be let off the hook.

The CBC got its hands on a Tory cabinet policy paper or proposal that would largely exempt Athabasca from emissions cuts:

The Conservative government has not ruled out giving special breaks to oilsands companies when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions, Environment Minister Jim Prentice acknowledged Tuesday.

...The draft proposal suggests that the oil and gas industry would have to cut 15 megatonnes of emissions, rather than the 48 megatonnes proposed in the Turning the Corner plan.
It also says projected growth in greenhouse gas emissions from the oilsands in northern Alberta will be 165 per cent by 2020 and proposes to cut that growth — not emissions — by 10 per cent.

The proposal raises questions about how the Tories could cut overall greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent by 2020 — a target they insist they can reach — while weakening the targets in the oil and gas sector.

The CBC story posted on their website brought the predictable "angry man" outrage from Albertans. How dare anyone meddle in Alberta's affairs? Why the province should separate. The rest of us are all a bunch of gullible dupes trying to hold Alberta down.

Here's the problem. The tar is Alberta's, no argument. But the greenhouse gas emission from the Tar Sands project are Alberta's too. The atmosphere into which Alberta currently emits those greenhouse gases isn't Alberta's. That atmosphere belongs to no one and to everyone - around the world. Alberta has no greater right to foul that atmosphere than anyone else.

Just as soon as Alberta comes up with a way to keep all those emissions safely in Alberta, great. All of those emissions. If they think they can pump all that CO2 into the ground, be my guest. If they're bound and determine to poison their groundwater, I suppose that's not my business.

This idea that Alberta has some unfettered right to foul the atmosphere is, well that's trailer trash thinking.

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