Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Welcome Obama, About Those Tar Sands

This full-page ad appeared in USA Today on Tuesday, placed by the Mikisew Cree First Nation, the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, and the environmental group Forest Ethics.

And it looks like the folks from Greenpeace have scaled Alexandra Bridge and hung a number of banners reading “Welcome President Obama” and “Climate Leaders Don’t Buy Tar Sands”. As of a couple of hours ago, they were still up. (PS. if anyone has a shot of them e-mail and I shall post)

Pity when the most effective target of your lobbying campaign are the citizens and leaders of a foreign country, but there you have it.


Steve V said...

Did you hear his response to Mansbridge on the question? Sounded like Obama's going to use the sequestration angle to justify moving ahead. Obama did allude to a future ceiling, put that's probably a reference to the wider cap and trade system. Given what we keep hearing about his environmental team, I found the stance on the tar sands, not to mention domestic coal, to be less than aggressive. The "technology" argument is more a way to keep the taps flowing, rather than dealing with the problem. If people see the Obama administration as the anti-tar champions, it might be time for rethink, because what I gleemed sounded very political in nature.

bigcitylib said...

Steve, good column about that today which I meant to link to but could not find (Don Martin?).

I am not as strongly against CS as some, because hey if it works it works. The problem is nobody knows if it will work, it might be be expensive if it did, and it may be just about providing political cover for the energy lobby (they have to be FOR something and who cares if it works?).

That said, Obama would probably be unwise to start making threats on the eve of his first visit, and even what little he has done so far domsetically shows that he is FAR more serious about this stuff than Bush was.

Steve V said...

I'm not against CS, but it's very unclear if it can work, so when I hear that rationale, it's sort of like putting the cart before the horse. Someone should tell Steady Eddie, if it's such a magic solution, then he should have no problem weaving future expansion to the availability of this technology. Watch the talking pointd evaporate as soon as you tie viability to development, because that smokes out all the public relations nonsense.

Obama is light years ahead of Bush, so he will be a positive, but I just wonder if he's using technology to wiggle out of a firm stance. Obama's probably seen the numbers, and knows that it's either this oil or from other sources, regardless of the clean energy push- it will take a great deal of time to transform or lessen dependance.

bigcitylib said...


Yeah that's true, but I don't see a realistic scenario in which he doesn't get our oil. At the moment, and for the next decade at least, there's no other real market for it (no pipeline to east or west coast). The threat of the "oil weapon" rings pretty hollow down South. So he can afford to be relatively firm with the province/oil sector(more firm than either Harper OR Ignatieff).

Gwyn Dyer has argued along these lines.

And the problem with CS is that, for another decade at least, it will be a viable dodge, as you suggest. I would hope the O at least gets Alberta to treat their CS projects seriously. There's supposed to be a couple of pilots in Alberta, but at the moment it seems they are entirely on paper.

Serious enough, that is, to either prove it or disprove it as an option.

The Mound of Sound said...

If CS was viable it would've been pursued when oil prices were high. It wasn't.

But it's curious that our leader, Michael Ignatieff, is so ready to embrace the Tar Sands.

I e-mailed MI with this link. It's a short interview that discusses the environmental catastrophe that's facing Alberta.

It's not just about carbon capture. It's the overall ecological devastation of a vast part of Northern Alberta.

Nancy Leblanc said...

Castor Rouge said...

On a less serious note this ad reminds me of some other anti-Canadian propoganda from an obscure Michael Moore film...