Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Study disputes EU oil sands emission numbers

The province is spreading a study done by Jacobs Consultancy Canada that finds that the EU has overestimated oil sands emissions and underestimated those from other European sources of crude.

The EU suggests oil sands emit 22% more carbon than other sources. The paper credits newer, more efficient oil sands extraction and upgrading technology allowing oil sands gasoline to be as little as 7% more carbon intensive than gasoline from other sources in Europe and 12% on average. The paper states oil sands products could emit less carbon overall than some crudes from countries that vent a lot of gas, namely Russia and Nigeria.

Apparently the report is not released to the public (yet) so the Herald article will have to do.

UPDATE: Here's another article on the subject with more discussion on the politics behind the report. It's got an interesting bit about how the Canadian environmental minister, Peter Kent, was pushing the ethical oil message along the lines of "it may be dirty oil, but at least it’s not bloody oil", while the new natural resource minister, Joe Oliver, has backed off of this, instead focusing on economic benefits from the oil sands.

Personally, I think the ethical oil argument is a pretty good one, but I understand it makes things awkward between the Canadian government and countries that produce purportedly "unethical oil" (ahem, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Russia, Iran and so on).

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