Last week in Washington, DC, John D. Podesta, President and CEO of the Center for American Progress delivered the keynote speech at the conference, "Canada 2020's 'Greening' The Oil Sands: Debunking the Myths and Confronting the Realities."
It is definitely worth a read as it provides an alternative view on this growing development in Canada's far north called the Alberta Oil Sands.
If you come from Alberta you may most likely refer to it as the 'oil sands' but it historically has been the called the 'tar sands' due to the tar like substance that is mined or extracted via open-pit mining or in-situ extraction.
No matter how it is described, it is a very dirty, unconventional oil source and a hot topic of debate in Canada, and more and more, in the US.
As Mr. Podesta explains in his speech, there are many issues at play with respect to the tar sands. There are energy security issues, because the perception is that Canadian oil is a safer source than other foreign oil sources.
Then there are economic issues, billions of dollars have gone into the science behind, and extraction of, this rather expensive energy source. Plus, large amounts of energy (i.e. natural gas) and water from one of the most pristine rivers in North America, the Athabasca River, must be used.
But, at the heart of this debate is the fact that continued development in unconventional energy sources, like the tar sands, as explained by Mr. Podesta, is not addressing the real issue of climate change.
We must break our addiction to oil, and put more investment into renewable energy sources. As he says, "We all recognize we have to keep global temperatures under 2 degrees Celsius to avoid catastrophic climate change....But our reliance on oil continues unchecked."
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