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Opinion

Opinion

No ‘clean’ hydrocarbons

May 17, 2010

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— Calgary (Alberta) Sun on “dirty oil” (May 8):

All that oil floating on the Gulf of Mexico reveals the lie about Alberta’s “dirty oil” for what it is.

While we get no pleasure from seeing our neighbors to the south contend with an unfolding ecological disaster, it at least puts the relative merits of different energy sources in perspective.

There’s no such thing as “clean” hydrocarbons.

No matter what the source, extracting oil from the Earth’s bosom is an endeavor fraught with risk.

We take the gamble because our world as we know it wouldn’t function without oil.

It feeds us and keeps us from freezing.

Canada supplies more oil to the U.S. than any other nation. That provides energy security for the Americans and a huge boost to our economy.

Yet as more of that supply comes from Alberta’s oilsands, there’s a danger sensationalistic disinformation campaigns will undermine this mutually beneficial relationship.

Environmental extremist groups have mounted an unceasing effort to portray oilsands production as “dirty oil.”

But their main basis for that claim, that oilsands production emits more greenhouse gases, pales in comparison to the potential catastrophe the U.S. is facing in Louisiana.

Especially when you consider 80 percent of the emissions from any oil source occur during the combustion process of refined products.

Yet there’s been a danger the current U.S. administration could take steps to penalize or restrict the roughly 1.5 million barrels of oil the U.S. imports every day from Alberta. ...

The U.S. was all set to increase offshore drilling, but has placed a moratorium on it in the wake of this massive spill.

What a difference a disaster makes. ...

This spill should serve as a wake-up call to spur government and industry to look at the safety of all forms of oil production and transport — and ensure we are able to respond effectively and quickly to potential spills in the future.

But it also reveals the absurdity of falsely singling out the oilsands as a villain in the often messy business of extracting hydrocarbons.

On the Net: http://www.calgarysun.com

Comments

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 7 months ago

This is a really absurd piece. A spill in the Gulf gets this writer all defensive about production from oilsands?

But since he obviously supports this industry, his underlying defensiveness is quite justified-- extraction of oil from oilsands is an unavoidably complete ecological disaster. It takes almost as much energy to extract it as is produced, and it pollutes massive amounts of surface and ground water.

SettingTheRecordStraight 4 years, 7 months ago

The oil spill in the Gulf highlights the need to harness ANWR's abundant esources. Our nation also needs to develop more wind, solar and nuclear energy. The moderate among us can certainly agree to an "all of the above" approach.

And remember, villifying petroleum is easy to do from a well-lit, temperature-controlled modern office with a computer - all made possible by petroleum.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 7 months ago

"The oil spill in the Gulf highlights the need to harness ANWR's abundant esources."

How is an oil spill in ANWR going to be any better than one in the gulf? And as for "abundant," it's a six-month supply, tops.

"villifying petroleum"

Calling it like it is is not "vilification"

SettingTheRecordStraight 4 years, 7 months ago

First, an oil spill in ANWR is far less likely because ANWR isn't a mile under water. Second, any land-based spill would be easier to stem because it isn't a mile under water.

Also, every oil deposit if finite. Just because ANWR's supply is limited, doesn't mean we should ignore it. Face it, blocking access to ANWR's natural resources is based on its symbolic value, not because of legitimate threats to the environment or wildlife.

Finally, until you've developed a cold fusion machine, magic carpets or a teleportation device, we are going to need petroleum to light our homes, run our factories and move our cars.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 7 months ago

"First, an oil spill in ANWR is far less likely because ANWR isn't a mile under water."

Yea, it's merely in the frozen tundra thousands of miles from anything, accessible almost exclusively by air, weather permitting, where for about half the year it's in complete darkness and temperatures rarely get above about 20 below, often 60 below or colder, which wreaks havoc on all mechanical and electronic equipment.

"Just because ANWR's supply is limited, doesn't mean we should ignore it."

It's not just because the supply is limited. It's because endangering this fragile ecosystem will do almost nothing to meet our addiction to petroleum.

But you're a happy oil junkie, so I don't expect such facts to sway you in your eternal search for a quick fix.

gr 4 years, 7 months ago

"Yea, it's merely in the frozen tundra thousands of miles from anything,..."

How is oil in the bottom of the gulf better?

"It's because endangering this fragile ecosystem will do almost nothing to meet our addiction to petroleum. "

How is endangering the gulf better? By meeting more of our addiction?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 7 months ago

What? I didn't say it was better. Both are equally bad ideas.

Kirk Larson 4 years, 7 months ago

The only way to get off foreign oil is to get off oil.

Flap Doodle 4 years, 7 months ago

Everybody get an electronic ciggie & relax.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 7 months ago

Oil demand must BE Cut wayyyyyyyyy back.

"oil shale and tar sands " are very very expensive and polluting processes. Then of course the pollution afterwards.

Bottom line is gas guzzlers must go. Trains, The T, smaller cars,bikes and feet must take center stage.

Cars and local roads never ever pay for themselves.

Nuke power like coal power produce radio active waste and can only be had IF WE taxpayers want to foot the construction and insurance bills while the CEO's and shareholders laugh all the way to the bank.... no thank you! Coal power produces some mighty toxic waste.

I want a cleaner local source such as Bowersock Dam Power.

So many say look at France the nuke power dreamland. NOW France has a huge problem just like the USA. It's called radioactive waste that NO ONE wants in their backyard. Things are no longer going smoothly now that real life has hit the fan.

Kansas is rated number 3 in local wind power yet we have legislators and many others fighting off cleaner energy that would bring thousands of new permanent jobs to Kansas AND more tax revenue. Isn't it time to end tax increases. Let's instead generate more tax dollar revenue!

Figuring in big government subsidies and the cost of war to control the world oil supply we USA consumers are likely paying at least $22.00 or more per gallon of gasoline.

TopJayhawk 4 years, 7 months ago

I''m tired of talking about it. We have the technology now to get off of oil if we would just think outside the box, and get it done.

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