Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Alberta oil sands and Canada's energy future

Many of you are by now familiar with the reasons why the Alberta tar oil sands is an environmental disaster, preventing Canada from meeting its Kyoto targets, and that our dependence on oil is a recipe for disaster because our culture is designed to run on a finite resource. See the following for more information: A Crude Awakening; Canada's oil sands development an economic boon, but leaves a mess.

But did you know that he tar sands does not even provide economic benefits to Canada right now?!? At a recent meeting hosted by Post Carbon Toronto, Prof. Gordon Laxer of the Parkland Institute presented an incredibly informative lecture in which it was revealed that Albertans get a mere 25 cents per barrel produced, while U.S. oil companies get more than 99% AND the Canadian taxpayer is subsidizing them at $1.4 billion per year!

While Norway saved $293 billion from oil finds, Alberta has saved only $14 billion. Laxer has shown that Alberta has poverty, despite its much-touted oil wealth. Most of the money is going into the hands of a few major oil companies (BP, Imperial Oil - which is really Exxon Mobil, Shell).

Economically, the tar sands makes no sense! And environmentally, it is a disaster. So why are our leaders using public funds to subsidize the tar sands and helping Exxon Mobil, et al, to implement its expansion to three million barrels per day? Because it supplies the U.S. economy with more oil than Saudi Arabia!

Canada is virtually alone in the industrialized world because it has no national energy policy to protect its energy future. The obvious conclusion: there is a dire need for greater energy security in Canada through oil nationalization, which would ensure more control over the tar sands (and one hopes) prevent its expansion --but the Harper government refuses to do this.

Laxer presented these ideas in Canadian Parliament at the invitation of opposition members; Tories were so threatened by what he had to say, they shut down Parliament!

See the video of one of Laxer's speeches below.

Ways to get involved:
  1. do further research on this issue and help prepare a one-page report to spread to others on campus through a variety of means.
  2. help organize a public forum to invite Laxer to speak at U of T
  3. other?

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