Friday, February 11, 2011

Unethical to Brand Oil Sands Ethical?

It's human nature to seek an honourable reason to avoid a pressing problem. But this distraction is deadly.
By Colin Campbell and Andrew S. Wright, Today,

Ezra Levant's powerful but critically flawed argument re-branding Alberta’s oil sands as "ethical" appears to be re-shaping Canadian public policy as Prime Minister Harper and Environment Minister Peter Kent adoptthe catch phrase -- despite both ministers having not read the original work. As the catch phrase "ethical oil" enters the lexicon of Canadian political language, the need for a productive facts-based debate in Canada, a debate leading to real conservation solutions, appears to be more urgent than ever.

This is especially true in British Columbia where candidates in the Liberal party leadership race have systematically failed to embrace discussion of environmental and conservation policies as an integral part of their policy platform offerings.

Critical debate is important because arguments that the oil sands contain almost half the world's total known oil reserves and will therefore ensure world peace, global food and energy supplies for the next half century are dangerously flawed. Current oil sand production of two million barrels a day is technically limited by water availability to approximately a maximum of five million barrels a day, a mere fraction of the world's daily consumption. This misrepresentation promises economic stability yet ignores global (peak) oil supply concerns, the technical upper limit of oil sand production, and climate change. Alberta's oil sands development will not deliver global economic stability in the face of these issues.

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