The BIG GRAB series: Alberta's oil sands play dirty

As ordinary Canadians dig deep to ease their carbon footprint, Alberta's oil-sands pollution wipes out their sacrifice.

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Again, for perspective, if our entire Canadian economy suddenly produced jobs and GDP at the rate the oil sands do per tonne of CO2, 14 million Canadians would lose their jobs and more than $25,000 would disappear from the average Canadian’s pocket each year.

The oil sands corporations are creating this risk without supplying the funding to mitigate it. This article digs into government and industry data to highlight the prosperity risks we face as we allow our economy to be dragged more and more into “oil sands mode.” (more...)



When it comes to their skyrocketing climate pollution, the only positive thing the oil sands corporations have been able to say is that they have reduced the CO2-intensity per barrel produced.

But as this article will illustrate, industry stats show these gains stopped years ago and are now reversing. In the last five years, CO2 per barrel has increased about 20 per cent. The oil sands are getting dirtier. And future trends look even worse as the dirtier-to-produce “in situ” extraction method surges towards dominance. (more...)



But aren’t the oil sands too big and important to our economy to put any limits on them?

Sure,  the Alberta oil sands are an enormous project. Then again, we are a nation that does lots of big things. Canada is a "can do" nation with a gigantic and varied economy, of which the oil sands are actually a tiny slice.

This article will present the stats and the charts revealing that for the 89 per cent of Canadians outside Alberta, the oil sands produce just 0.2 per cent of our GDP and a similarly tiny percentage of our jobs.

Our gigantic Canadian economy can continue to thrive even if we require the relatively small oil sands sector to pay to clean up its own mess -- like the rest of us need to. (more...)



Sadly, in the last couple decades, our Canadian economy has fallen steadily behind the U.S. and other OECD nations in the race to maximize wealth per tCO2. It is a race we can’t afford to lose.

Our sixth article will dig into American, Canadian and international government data to show just how far behind we have slipped.

For example, did you know that:

  • because the U.S. is doing better than Canada, the average American now makes an extra $5,0000 a year with the same carbon footprint?
  • Canadians have dallied so long we now need to pay a 45 per cent higher carbon price than Americans just to reach our shared 2020 finish line?
  • Canada has fallen to the sixteenth poorest performer out of 17 OECD economies in both tCO2 per person and in creating wealth per tCO2?
  • our oil sands industry produces less GDP per tCO2 than the economies of either India or Indonesia?

Details, charts and international comparisons will be presented in this article to make clear how we are lagging behind and how our oil sands corporations pollution threatens to drag Canadians even farther behind the U.S., Europe and Japan in building prosperity for a lower-carbon world. (more...)



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