The tar sands are the single largest contributor to the growth of greenhouse-gas emissions in Canada, because it takes so much of Canada's diminishing supply of natural gas to make tar sands oil. Greenhouse-gas intensity in the tar sands is almost triple that of conventional oil. As Jim Dinning, Alberta's former treasurer and front-runner to replace Ralph Klein as Alberta's premier, recently quipped, "Injecting natural gas into the oil sands to produce oil is like turning gold into lead."
Alberta now emits more greenhouse gases than Ontario, despite having only 26 per cent of that province's population. To draw attention away from the tar sands elephant, Ms. Ambrose said we would have to take every train, plane and automobile off the streets in Canada to comply with Canada's Kyoto accord targets. Did she point her finger at transportation that everyone uses, to undermine popular support for Kyoto?
Environment Canada, a unit in Ms. Ambrose's own ministry, tells a different story. It is oil production, not oil consumption, that is the fastest growing source of Canada's emissions. "Growth in oil and gas exports, almost all to the United States, contributed significantly to emission growth between 1990 and 2003."
With production set to triple in the next decade, it helps explain why Rona Ambrose wants to trash Kyoto. Absolutely staggering that a province like Ontario, with its large manufacturing base, congested highways, massive population and questionable energy sources contributes less crap than Alberta. Canada will fail on emissions so that we can feed the American beast.
This reality makes the Ambrose arguments of industry-driven initiatives and voluntary targets look laughable. Where does the "clean technologies" line fit in with the tar sands? Is there another way to extract oil that could possibly be "dirtier"? The only way to effectively tackle emissions is for there to be limitations on development, capped export numbers based on viability and massive environmental taxes to force rapid change in oil practices. Anything less is equal to nothing and guarantees a disasterous future for the country. The question is simple, people or profits?