Two years ago we were being warned that Middle East oil production had peaked, and the tar sands were considered the answer to North American demand. Now the attention has shifted to the amount of greenhouse gasses being created to produce a barrel of oil and the tar sands production is being labelled dirty oil.
With the latest shocker for Alberta being the declaration from the US Mayors to boycott oil produced by the tar sands.
Alberta’s immediate response was somewhat conciliatory and slightly defensive.
"I wish I could talk to all of them one-on-one,"Now by week's end, it has become more aggressive and somewhat threatening.
"This resolution suggests a lack of understanding and we hope by extending that invitation we can help set the record straight."
"Reducing greenhouse gas is an important issue, but it requires a comprehensive, thoughtful and realistic approach,"
"We can pass all the 'feel-good' resolutions that we want, but the reality of the situation is that production from the oil sands is necessary,"
"Alberta is a safe and secure supply for American energy needs."
“American lawmakers will likely feel a backlash from consumers if they stop buying fuel derived from oil sands and turn to more expensive offshore oil or alternative fuels.”However as Alberta's Liberal Leader Kevin Taft (the guy Albertans didn't vote for) pointed out:
"You start jacking up the cost of food and fuel to ordinary Americans, would that be in everybody's best interest? I think not,"
“Our big, big job is not so much lobbying. It's educating... its to make people understand that a lot of the criticism about the oilsands is unfair and unwise, and potentially damaging to U.S. interests."
"The environmental movement is interested in stigmatizing oil, and it suits their purpose to focus on oilsands oil, because that seems to be where the growth is,"
"In the end, Senator Obama has to get real,"
"Canadian oil is in the bull's eye right now because environmental groups have decided to make it their cause. But without it, the Midwest would be screwed."
"If you stop oilsands from coming into the United States, you will increase the reliance of the U.S. on other sources of oil -– perhaps Venezuela, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia,"
"Alberta oil will go somewhere else, perhaps China, perhaps India. The ability of environmentalists to influence how that oil is used in those jurisdictions is very limited."
"Alberta has been foot dragging for years on reducing emissions and this lack of action is now under the spotlight across North America. Sabre rattling against Barack Obama or the White House isn't going to get us anywhere. We're not going to fool those people with multimillion-dollar propaganda campaigns."Unfortunately the government they did elect has built their emissions reduction strategy upon capturing carbon dioxide and permanently storing it underground. "However this strategy will require more research and significant investment by government and industry and a timeline stretching out to 2015".
Taft says what's at stake is Alberta's standard of living and the future prosperity of the province, which relies heavily on the energy industry and especially the oilsands for both jobs and revenues. "The best response is to solve the problem".
The real problem for Alberta, is that we have already got their message "Oil production is important to your province".
The problem for the rest of us is how long will it take for Alberta to get the environmentalists message. "Don't further expand the tar sands production, until you have the 'Capture and Store' technology in place."