Wednesday, February 21, 2007

$1 A Barrel To Green The Tar Sands

Matthew Bramley, climate change director at the Pembina Institute, an environmental think-tank, claims that the oil industry could meet Kyoto targets in Alberta's oil sands at a cost of about $1 a barrel.

Furthermore:

A spokesperson for Suncor Energy, a major oil sands producer, did not contradict the $1-a-barrel estimate, but said he would need more time to study the Pembina figures.

"The devil is in the details," said Gord Lambert, Suncor's vice-president of sustainable development.

Probably won't be writing much else today. Too much running around to do. Have a good one.

18 comments:

alfred said...

Hmm..like the Liberal government saying the gun registry would cost thirty million? Given the oil sands history of cost overruns you should factor that up by 20.

bigcitylib said...

Gun registry cost so much because of the efforts of its opponents to derail it. D'you you think the oil patch will hunker down and find all change, even if it means being unable to sell their oil to places like Calif., where they will be considering the whole life-cylce of the oil they buy?

Ti-Guy said...

Hmm..like the Liberal government saying the gun registry would cost thirty million?

No, it's nothing like that. You'd have to be irretrievably stupid to think the situations are comparable.

OttawaCon said...

BigCity,

Sort of outside the scope of the post (for the record, I think the Pembina numbers are off, but in principle offsetting oil sands emissions is what we should be doing), but your characterization of the gun registry as being the fault of the opponents is wildly uninformed. The two expenditure areas that killed it were IT and marketing. Marketing may have seen some effect from resistance, but that does not explain why it was concealed from Parliament. IT is simple mismanagement, and perhaps corruption.

The California idea is fundamentally unworkable. There is no significant production in California, and they are a price taker in a world market specifying differential costs in a commodity market. All that will produce is a higher price for California consumers for the assurance that they are getting 'good oil', which will then be sold freely in Arizona. There will be a net effect, but it is an astonishingly inefficient form of public policy, which ironically will principally benefit oil companies by allowing a 'carbon premium'.

Anonymous said...

Not to mention that Enbridge is planning to build a pipeline from Alberta to the BC coast and a ship terminal so oil sands production can be sold to China, India etc.

Denier ? Moi ?? said...

look up the pedigree of the Pembina Institute.


They are paid up members of the Church of Gaia, so there numbers would be tres suspect.

They are full blown Kyoto Economic Disaster Deniers.

ottlib said...

Yep, and the spokesman for Suncor is probably a Kyoto Economic Disaster denier as well.

When the folks that will be most effected by efforts to meet Canada's Kyoto obligations begin to say that it will be no big deal it may be time to rethink your position.

Anonymous said...

Would they put that in writing, and that it'll never increase?

Anonymous said...

bigcitylib said...
Gun registry cost so much because of the efforts of its opponents to derail it.

Are you serious?! It cost an extra BILLION dollars because a few guys were registering their soldering guns? How many BILLIONS more would it have cost if it eventually registers the 16 million or so guns that still AREN'T registered?

bcl, if you don't know anything about a subject, don't refer to it, okay? It's not helping your argument.

Anonymous said...

Here's some breaking news on the environmental front.

http://stevejanke.com/archives/216398.php

Bromines? Who's afraid of bromines? Who's even heard of bromines?

I had to look them up, and it turns out bromines are an environmentalist's nightmare. Bromine compounds in the atmosphere are far more destructive to the ozone layer than chlorine, and at the same time trap heat like carbon dioxide.

So it came as a surprise to note that two high profile Canadian political figures with close Liberal ties are on the one hand running a pro Liberal, pro Stephane Dion website devoted to promoting the Liberal Party as the party to save the environment, and on the other hand have been for years lobbying on behalf of the industry organization that promotes the continued use of bromine-compounds and aggressively fights atempts to regulate bromine use.


Here's what Environment Canada has to say about bromines:

They are some of the most effective heat trapping greenhouse gases of all. Halocarbons are typically involved in various industrial and home uses with chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) being the most familiar.

Sounds nasty. The Sierra Club agrees, and saves special scorn for the bromine-loving Americans:

How is the Bush Administration threatening the Montreal Protocol?

In 1997, the signatories to the Protocol agreed to a complete elimination of Methyl Bromide in developed countries by 2005, with interim reductions of 25% by 1999, 50% by 2001, and 70% by 2003. After the phase-out date, signatories would be allowed to apply for "critical use" exemptions to the ban. The Critical Use Exemption is designed to allow continued production and usage of Methyl Bromide in cases where there are no technically and economically feasible alternative.

The US has requested 9,921 tonnes of Methyl Bromide be considered 'critical use'. The global requested critical use exemptions for Methyl Bromide total 16,917 metric tonnes. Meaning that the United States has requested more 'critical use' exemptions than all other countries combined. The Bush administration has threatened to ignore the treaty altogether if their 'critical use' demands for Methyl Bromide are not met.


Not everyone agrees, though. The Bromine Science and Environmental Forum argues that bromine-based agricultural chemicals are critical:

Bromine compounds are effective pesticides, used both as soil fumigants in agriculture, particularly fruit-growing, and as a fumigant to prevent pests from attacking stored grain and other produce. Significant volumes of world trade in agriculture goods depend on the use of bromine compounds to ensure compliance with mandatory rules on quarantine. Bromine compounds are also used as intermediates to make some of the agriculture chemicals we take for granted.

In fact, the BSEF is quite aggressive in defending the use of bromine in water purification, batteries, pharmaceuticals, photography, and as a flame retardant.

What exactly is the BSEF? According to the Center for Media and Democracy, the BSEF is an industry front group:

The Bromine Science and Environmental Forum is a bromine industry front group run by the global PR firm Burson-Marsteller (BM).

Established in 1997, BSEF has only four members: the world's major producers of bromine flame retardants, based in the US, Israel and Japan.

Not just a front group. Indeed, a group that includes strong-arm tactics:

The BSEF has a remarkably aggressive, zero-tolerance strategy towards critics exposing the impacts of toxic bromine products. In a May 2003 letter on behalf of the BSEF, the law firm Harbottle & Lewis urged newspapers and television broadcasters not to cover the warnings against BFRs issued by WWF and other environmental groups. The letter advised the media to consult Lawrie Mc Laren on issues related to BFRs and ended with the following blunt notification: "We should state for the record that our clients will be monitoring future press and media coverage on the issue of BFRs, and will not hesitate to pursue all remedies available to them should there be any incorrect or inaccurate statements in relation to BFRs that adversely affect our clients' businesses."

Now who would want to be associated with the BFEF, the nefarious peddlers of bromine-based poision that is killing our planet?

Why, Liberals of couse!

In particular, two Liberals, John Duffy and Robert Asselin.

You might remember John Duffy from the last election. He was the Liberal mouthpiece who threatened CTV's Mike Duffy off the air, then was chewed out by the Duffster on national television (see the video of that encounter). Robert Asselin was a colleague of John Duffy's in StrategyCorp and formerly a special advisor to Paul Martin.

Robert Asselin was a lobbyist for BSEF throughout 2005.

John Duffy was a lobbyist for BSEF from 2004 until January 2007, just a few weeks ago.

What did these two Liberals do for the BSEF? They fought tooth and nail against the definition of bromines as toxic.

Anonymous said...

For all you skeptics climate change is for real, read this and check the site:

“There are ominous signs that the earth’s weather patterns have begun to change dramatically and that these changes may portend a drastic decline in food production-with serious political implications for just about every nation on earth. The drop in food output could begin quite soon, perhaps only ten years from now…The longer the planners delay, the more difficult will they find it to cope with climatic change once the results become grim reality.”
- Newsweek, April 28, 1975
denisdutton.com/
newsweek_coolingworld.pdf

Anonymous said...

For the last time, you neo-com idiots, we're not 'climate change deniers'. We know the climate changes, and we understand that better than you. Further, we don't 'deny' that man is exacerbating change, it's that your side hasn't proven it. Not only have you not proven it, you can't even say 'without reasonable doubt' as there is so much contradictory evidence and theory. Then you continue to use poor data, massaged algorithms, faulty assumptions, and biased economics to 'prove' your case via modelling projections. Well, that's not reality, and that's not science.

What flavour is the Kyoto Kool-Aid, anyway? Lime, right?

Dr. Fruit Fly Lies . . . said...

Woo Hoo

Dr. Fruit Fly has a meltdown on Toronto radio and then gets caught in theMother of All Lies.

The Fruit Fly Guy . . lies like a Liberal

David Suzuki, on the John Oakley show:

I’m not getting any money from my foundation. I’m getting my money, the foundation gets its money, from ordinary people. We don’t take government money, corporations have not been interested in funding us. We get it from ordinary Canadians across the country. 40,000 thousand of them and we get some foundations in both Canada and the United States. So that’s my agenda. We speak on behalf of the people that fund us.


(To hear the audio clip click here.)

Joseph C. Ben-Ami;

Corporations uninterested? Is it possible that the Great Suzuki has failed to attract a single corporate donation to his feel-good campaign to save the earth? Not one?

Actually, the David Suzuki Foundation’s annual report for 2005/2006 lists at least 52 corporate donors including: Bell Canada, Toyota, IBM, McGraw-Hill Ryerson, Microsoft, Scotia Capital, Warner Brothers, RBC, Canon and Bank of Montreal.

The David Suzuki Foundation also received donations from EnCana Corporation, a world leader in natural gas production and oil sands development, ATCO Gas, Alberta’s principle distributor of natural gas, and a number of pension funds including the OPG (Ontario Power Generation) Employees’ and Pensioners’ Charity Trust. OPG is one of the largest suppliers of electricity in the world operating 5 fossil fuel-burning generation plants and 3 nuclear plants... which begs the question – is Suzuki now pro-nuclear power?

If I were less generous I might be tempted to accuse Suzuki of hypocrisy for accepting donations from corporations that he must believe contribute significantly to the production of greenhouse gases, but that would miss the point entirely. The real issue is that, contrary to his clear assertion, the David Suzuki Foundation does receive funding from corporations.

canuckistanian said...

boy, you know these deniers don't know anything about the scientific method when they go on and on about how global warming hasn't been "proven". umm, in case you were remotely curious about science; you can't "prove" a theory, you can only 'disprove' one. over the long run, when a theory cannot be disproven by the scientific community it is accepted as scientific fact. duh, you anonymous moron! nice try with trying to defuse the "denier" label, though ;-).

Anonymous said...

The scientific method should also eliminate other possible explanations. It should also test the hypothesis, or be able to predict the outcome of an experiment.

One could find that certain global temperatures have a near perfect correlation to, the number of Smarties consumed in New Brunswick. But that doesn't mean there is any link between the two, no true cause and effect relationship.

There must be a relationship between the two, which is quantifiable and predictable. There is no logical link between earth temperatures and Smarties. So far, there are other competing theories of what is behind temperature changes which are far more plausible than CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere.

You must disprove those competing theories, and prove that CO2 is THE culprit. This has not been done by any stretch of the imagination.

For example, more solar energy hits the earth in one day than what we burn/use/generate from all sources in a year. Now, consider the fact that solar intensity does vary over time. What do you think would be the result?

Ti-Guy said...

Now, consider the fact that solar intensity does vary over time. What do you think would be the result?

Think? Aren't you supposed to go out and measure that or something, Mr. Anonymous Scientitian?

Alison said...

Here's the part I liked best from that article :

"Suncor earned $2.97 billion in profit last year, up from $1.168 billion in 2005.

Lambert suggested that new technology, especially carbon capture and storage, is the key to curbing emissions, but government funding would be needed for implementation."

Ha!

Anonymous said...

ti-guy, that's part of the scientific process. If you think you understand the process, you should be able to predict what happens if conditions or circumstances change. THEN you do the experiment or make the observations, and compare that to your prediction. Just observing something without thinking about it is simply data. If you can predict accurately (and even more importantly, if OTHERS can also predict accurately using your method) as variables change, then you start gaining some confidence in your understanding of the physical laws involved.

And it's "Prof." Anonymous Scientitian to you.