By Lisa McCrummen
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Yesterday, the head of IPCC, Rajendra Pachauri, made a bold statement : Canada’s oil sands should be shut down.
While there’s no reaction so far from Canada’s PM Harper – wouldn’t it be amazing if a few top climate journalists were able to get him to comment?
Clearly his modus operandi is not to discuss the world’s growing backlash against the climate, environmental or health issues that are part of Canada’s dirty oil sands ‚Äòsuper’ energy package. He only took one question from journalists last week and didn’t utter a peep when international environmental groups ‚Äòouted’ Canada’s dirty oil sands in the U.S. Behind the scenes Harper tried to win special treatment during his meeting with Obama to grow the US addiction on Canada’s oil sands – 33 new refineries, thousands of miles of pipelines and even tanker traffic are part of the vision. Not the kind of plan the world is asking for to curb greenhouse gas emissions. (Last week Dr. James Hansen also urged Canada’s Oil Sands expansions to be stopped).
Luckily for Harper, his oil posse is there for him. And last week they were livid. They are fighting the potential low-carbon transportation fuel mandates which would not allow super-carbon-emissions fuels like the dirty oil to be sold. They got out a letter urging National Security Adviser James Jones to study how they could affect imports of Canadian oil sands. – upping their rhetoric (and protecting their investment) by trying to paint oil sands as an important ‚Äòenergy security’ source.Depends on how you view national/climate security: I highly doubt Rajendra Pachauri would agree with the oil industry’s (aka ConsumerEnergyAlliance) letter that upping the US dependence on the world’s dirtiest oil is encouraging: (A snippet from the letter: "Last year, the United States imported 1.5 million barrels of oil a day derived from the Canadian oil sands, and thanks to projects such as the Alberta Clipper, that number is expected to climb to 4.3 million barrels a day over the next two decades. This is encouraging news." )
Neither would top US military leaders and Military National Security think tanks. They are telling the US administration that combating climate by getting off fossil fuels must be the top National Security priority.
Today’s UN Climate Meeting is a serious moment for world leaders. There’s a new world reality because of global warming that must recognized and acted upon; the oil sands industry and friends of the dirty oil sands industry are not the leaders we need.