Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Oilsands and airplanes, pots and kettles: are climate agreements a waste of time?

“If Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations [by reducing greenhouse gas pollution], I will.” Thus spake the U.S. president on February 12 of this year, in his 2013 state of the union speech. Only 77 days earlier, he had signed a bill protecting U.S. airlines from paying a carbon dioxide (CO2) emission fee for flying in European Union airspace. According to a Pew Center report, U.S. commercial airlines dumped around 150 million metric tons of CO2 into the air in 2005; that amount has been fairly constant since 1990 (see Table 1 on page 5). This is a rather glaring disconnect. The president blocked a climate action measure, and less than three months later told the world he wanted exactly those kinds of measures.
Unfortunately the disconnect went unmentioned in the mainstream press.
This is an important point, especially apropos of the current intense global PR campaign against oil from Canada’s oil sands. Oil sands CO2emissions in 2011 were roughly 62 million metric tons. So we have the U.S. president endlessly delaying, for allegedly environmental reasons, a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry Canadian oilsands crude to refineries in the U.S.. Meanwhile, he blocks an EU proposal that addresses an activity that puts nearly three times as much CO2 into the air.
Continue reading at Canadian Energy Issues

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