This is big news: Andrew Weaver, a climate-modeling scientist and lead author on two reports published by the IPCC, says that Canadian oil production will have no significant impact on climate change.
Weaver says that the real problem is the heavy use of coal in other countries, particularly China, on the grounds that coal usage and coal mine fires in China have a far larger “carbon footprint” than Canadian oil. Unlike Weaver, I am very much a skeptic about anthropogenic (man-made) climate change and the supposed dangers of carbon and other “greenhouse gases.”
On the other hand, as this video shows, the present methods of mining and burning coal in China impose an extremely heavy cost in other pollutants that endanger the health of China’s people. Despite the false eco-radical claim that “there is no such thing as clean coal,” there are methods for using coal as we do in the US without emitting significant pollution. Until China reaches a level of industrialization where they can do the same, they would benefit by substituting Canadian oil for some of their coal.
Uploaded by SDAMatt2a on Feb 20, 2012
For years Alberta’s oilsands have been the target of climate change activists and the oil reserves have been dubbed a carbon bomb but now a new research publication seems to defuse that argument.
One of the world’s top climate scientists has calculated that emissions from Alberta’s oilsands are unlikely to make a big difference to global warming and that the real threat to the planet comes from burning coal.
“I was surprised by the results of our analysis,” said Andrew Weaver, a University of Victoria climate modeller, who has been a lead author on two reports from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. “I thought it was larger than it was.”
In a commentary published Sunday in the journal Nature, Weaver and colleague Neil Swart analyze how burning all global stocks of coal, oil and natural gas would affect temperatures. Their analysis breaks out unconventional gas, such as undersea methane hydrates and shale gas produced by fracking, as well as unconventional oil sources including the oilsands.
They found that if all the hydrocarbons in the oilsands were mined and consumed, the carbon dioxide released would raise global temperatures by about .36 degrees C. That’s about half the total amount of warming over the last century.
“If the total amount of currently active oilsands were combusted we’d get .01 degrees warming globally. If all the viable oil was combusted we’d get .03 degrees,” said Weaver.
In contrast, he found that burning all the globe’s vast coal deposits would create a 15 degree increase in temperature. Burning all the abundant natural gas would warm the planet by more than three degrees.
“So the bottom line is from a global warming perspective we will live and die by the use of coal,” said Weaver.
Weaver started crunching the numbers as a result of the proposed Keystone and Northern Gateway pipelines which would carry bitumen from Alberta to foreign refineries.
The federal government supports those pipelines and says Weaver’s report backs its position on energy development.
“This is a huge resource for our country, its’ something that’s important job creation so I think we can have our cake and eat it too when it comes to development of our energy sector,” said Michelle Rempel, Parlimentary Secretary to the Minister of Energy.
Weaver said his analysis suggests it is an increased dependence on coal — not the oilsands — that governments have to worry about. As well, there’s so much gas in the world that it will also cause problems despite the fact it emits less carbon than oil.
“One might argue that the best strategy one might take is to use our oil reserves wisely, but at the same time use them in a way that weans us of our dependence on coal and natural gas,” Weaver said. “As we become more and more dependent on these massive reserves, we’re less and less likely to wean ourselves away from them.”
Burning all the oil in the world would only raise temperatures by less than one degree, the paper concludes.
Weaver’s analysis only accounts for emissions from burning the fuel. It doesn’t count greenhouse gases released by producing the resource because that would double-count those emissions.
He said his paper is an attempt to bring some perspective to the often-fraught debate over oilsands development, which continues to cause major concerns about the impact on land, air and water. And emissions from producing oilsands crude are making it very tough for Canada to meet its greenhouse gas reduction targets.
“We’ve heard a lot about how if we burn all the oil in the tarsands it’s going to lead to this, that and the other. We thought, ‘Well, let’s take a look at this. What is the warming potential of this area?’ and the numbers are what they are.”
He said the real message is that the world has to start limiting its use of fossil fuels.
“This idea that we’re going to somehow run out of coal and natural gas and fossil fuels is really misplaced. We’ll run out of human ability to live on the planet long before we run out of them,” said Weaver. “I have always said that the tarsands are a symptom of a very big problem. The problem is dependence on fossil fuels.”
Andrew Weaver shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore for his work on global climate change.
(With files from ctv.ca)
Neither Barack Obama nor George Soros nor Al Gore nor the UN nor any other outside interest has the right to dictate to Canada how it may use, or where it may sell, its own energy resources.
If Canada does not sell its oil, global energy prices will continue to rise. Fuel scarcity and high energy prices not only please the wealthy eco-radicals who fund Obama’s campaigns, but also fill the coffers of hostile Muslim oil-producing countries.