Peter Kent on the Tar Sands: Tiny emissions but huge enterprise?

You can’t have it both ways.

In one breath new Environment Minister Peter Kent claims the emissions from the Tar Sands are too small to matter (it’s 5% of Canada’s total ghg emissions). Yet at the same time the claim is that it is far too important an economic sector to regulate (never mind cap development). “Oil-sands production accounts, I think, for 5 per cent of Canada’s total greenhouse-gas emissions. … ” he said. “When you look at relevant measurements, it is not nearly the product that has been demonized.”

Really? Total economic output of the Tar Sands is indeed enormous in absolute terms. At a $100 per barrel, and 1.2 million barrels a day, that’s … um … $43 billion dollars a year. That is indeed a lot of money. Adds up to about 3.4 percent of Canada’s GDP.

Wait a minute. I thought 5% of a pie is not enough to bother about? You can’t have it both ways.

If you want to talk in relative terms, then the ghg numbers are a larger proportion than the contribution to GDP. If the Tar Sands’ contribution to GDP is important, then so too are the emissions.

It’s easy to flip back and forth between absolute and relative amounts for the purpose of semantic effect. Ghg emissions from the Tar Sands,for example is an astronomical 40 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. That’s 40 billion kilogram! Sounds like a lot. It is.

If the Tar Sands are an important portion of the economy (at 3.4% they are) then they are an even more important portion of our ghg emissions (at 5%). Peter Kent has already started the gobbledegook speak of the Harperites on climate change.

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One Response to Peter Kent on the Tar Sands: Tiny emissions but huge enterprise?

  1. eric r ham says:

    we canadians do not want to bother with the filthy tar sands any more, reason being that oil is going to go out of fashion fast. Just think we used to use oil lamps to see with, they were rather poor on light quality, they were also a pain to operate and filthy, this is why we changed over to electric light. Switch on and hey presto great light and 100% of it immediately. The time has come for the electric car, this is why oil will go down fast as consumption will drop drastically. Plus of course, no mufflers, anti freeze, oil—gas all caveman stuff.

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