Keystone Pipeline All About Exporting Oil Overseas – Report


 The United States is awash in oil with four times as many oil rigs pumping domestic oil today than eight years ago and declining  demand

Canada needs overseas markets for its dirty oil

[Excerpts from my September 2nd article on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline — Stephen]

The only reason U.S. citizens may be forced to endure a risky, Canadian-owned oil pipeline called Keystone XL is so oil companies with billion-dollar profits can get the dirty oil from Canada’s tar sands down to the Gulf of Mexico to export to Europe, Latin America or Asia, according to a new report by Oil Change International released Wednesday.

“Keystone XL will not lessen U.S. dependence on foreign oil, but rather transport Canadian oil to American refineries for export to overseas markets,” concludes the report, titled “Exporting Energy Security“.

….

“The oil industry would have done the Northern Gateway [pipeline] first but gambled that resistance to the [Keystone XL] pipeline would be far weaker in the mid-west,” he told IPS.

They were wrong.

Read full article:

U.S. Awash in Oil and Lies, Report Charges | More Oil Development Risks Catastrophe – Scientists Say

Jail Before Climate-Wrecking Tar Sands, Canadians Say

By Stephen Leahy

OTTAWA, Sep 27, 2011 (IPS)

More than 200 Canadians engaged in civil disobedience, with 117 arrested in Canada’s quiet capital city on Monday. The reason? To protest the Stephen Harper right-wing government’s open support for the oil industry and expanding production in the climate-disrupting tar sands.

Maude Barlow, chairperson of the Council of Canadians, is arrested at the Sep. 26 tar sands protest. Credit:Renée Leahy/IPS

The normally placid and polite Canadians shouted, waved banners and demanded the closure of the multi-billion-dollar tar sands oil extraction projects in northern Alberta to protect the global climate and the health of local people and environment.

“People are here because they know that if we don’t turn away from the tar sands and fossil fuels soon it will be too late,” Peter McHugh, a spokesperson for Greenpeace Canada, told IPS.

“The tar sands are unsustainable. Canadians are willing to shift away from fossil fuels but our government isn’t,” Gabby Ackett a university student and protester, told IPS as she stood in front of a long line of police.

In what was proudly touted as “civil” civil disobedience, protesters aged 19 to 84 were arrested for using a step-stool to climb a low barrier separating them from the House of Commons, the seat of Canadian government. The police were friendly and accommodating because the organisers had promised there would be no violence.

“We live downstream and see the affects of tar sands pollution on the fish and the birds,” said George Poitras, a former chief of the Mikisew Cree First Nation in northern Alberta.

“Some our young people have rare forms of cancer,” Poitras told more than 500 protesters.

“Expanding the tar sands is not the way to go in a world struggling with climate change,” he said.

Carbon emissions from the tar sands production have increased 300 percent since 1990 and, at 45 to 50 million tonnes annually, are greater than most countries. And that does not include the carbon contained in the oil itself.

When burned, the 1.6 million barrels of oil that are extracted every day will add 346 million tonnes of carbon to the atmosphere this year alone. That’s almost the entire emissions of the country of Australia. The oil industry is making billion-dollar investments in the tar sands to more than double production by 2025. Continue reading

Canada Spurns Climate Treaty in Favour of Tar Sands (and lies about its emissions)

‘Oil companies are in the driver’s seat when it comes to Canadian federal energy policy’

By Stephen Leahy

BONN, Jun 13, 2011 IPS

Canada was roundly criticised by other nations at a major U.N. climate meeting last week after being caught underreporting carbon emissions from its tar sands oil production facilities, one of the countrys biggest and fastest growing sources of global warming gases.

But even the “full emissions” data that Canada finally released represents only about half of the actual emissions, according to a new report.

“Small oil sands companies are not required to report their emissions. And oil-refining emissions are not included in tar sands emissions,” said independent Canadian researcher Michelle Mech.

Canada likes to claim the city-sized tar sands project in the western province of Alberta represents only five percent of the country’s entire emissions, but the real number is closer to 10 percent, Mech told IPS.

Getting oil out of the tar sands requires extraordinary efforts, including enormous amounts of energy, and has been labeled ‘dirty oil’ as a result.

“Average emissions for oil sands production and upgrading (well-to- pump) are estimated to be 3.2 to 4.5 times as carbon intensive as conventional crude produced in North America,” concluded Mech’s report, “A Comprehensive Guide to the Alberta Oil Sands”.

“The tar sands are huge in terms of their impact on the environment but also on Canadian democracy. Oil is starting to run the country now,” she said.

Continue reading

U.S. Awash in Oil and Lies, Report Charges | More Oil Development Risks Catastrophe

Canada’s Alberta Tar Sands Mining Pits

By Stephen Leahy

UXBRIDGE, Canada, Sep 2, 2011 (IPS)

With four times as many oil rigs pumping domestic oil today than eight years ago and declining domestic demand, the United States is awash in oil.

The country’s oil industry is primarily interested in who will pay the most on the global marketplace. They call that “energy security” when it suits, but in reality it is “oil company security” through maximising profits, say energy experts like Steve Kretzman of Oil Change International, an NGO that researches the links between oil, gas and coal companies and governments.

The only reason U.S. citizens may be forced to endure a risky, Canadian-owned oil pipeline called Keystone XL is so oil companies with billion-dollar profits can get the dirty oil from Canada’s tar sands down to the Gulf of Mexico to export to Europe, Latin America or Asia, according to a new report by Oil Change International released Wednesday.

“Keystone XL will not lessen U.S. dependence on foreign oil, but rather transport Canadian oil to American refineries for export to overseas markets,” concludes the report, titled “Exporting Energy Security“.

Little of the 700,000 to 800,000 barrels of tar sands oil pumped through the 2,400-kilometre, seven-billion-dollar Keystone XL will end up in U.S. gas tanks because the refineries on the Gulf Coast are all about expanding export markets. One huge refinery operator called Valero has been touting the potential export revenues of tar sands oil to investors, the report found.

Because Keystone XL crosses national borders, President Barack Obama has to issue a permit declaring the pipeline serves the “national interest” in order to be approved.

“The only way Keystone XL could be considered in the national interest is if you equate that with profits for the oil industry,” said Kretzman, who wrote the report. Continue reading

Can Obama Take First Step to Break Addiction to Oil? (And Win First Battle Against Big Oil?)

Sept 3 protest at white house

‘…unless river of money from Big Oil is diverted there is no way to deal with climate change’

Analysis by Stephen Leahy

UXBRIDGE, Canada, Aug 31, 2011 (IPS)

The United States’ biggest environmental groups put aside their differences last week to make an urgent intervention on the country’s addiction to oil. The first step on the long road to recovery, they say, is to stop the proposed construction of the Keystone XL pipeline that will “mainline” the world’s dirtiest oil from northern Canada into the U.S. heartland.

“This (Keystone) is a terrible project,” they wrote in a letter to President Barack Obama, citing dangers to the climate, the risks of disastrous spills and leaks, and the economic damage that will come from continued dependence on fossil fuel.

Oil from the Keystone XL will dump an estimated 150 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) annually into the atmosphere – more than most countries. Scientists warn that approval of the project will further fuel the extreme weather that has already resulted in over one billion dollars in damages recorded this year in nine separate extreme weather events in the U.S.

And that doesn’t include the estimated 20 to 45 billion dollars in costs from Hurricane Irene last weekend, mainly due to extensive flooding.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil fuels do not cause hurricanes, tornados or droughts, but they do trap additional heat and water vapour that fuels those events, climate scientists have proven time and time again.

Asked about the impacts of adding another 150 million tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere, German climate scientist Malte Meinshausen, a researcher at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, told IPS that it will warm the planet for hundreds of years and lead to higher sea levels and “more pronounced droughts and floods”.

Continue reading

Keystone XL: A Pipeline to Europe?

By Stephen Leahy *

UXBRIDGE, Canada, Aug 23, 2011 (Tierramérica)

The promoters of Keystone XL, a huge new oil pipeline from northern Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast, claim that it will reduce U.S. reliance on oil imports from unfriendly countries.

But based on falling U.S. oil demand, the controversial Keystone XL pipeline may simply allow tar sands oil currently landlocked in Alberta, Canada to be exported to Europe, say U.S. and Canadian environmental activists.

The proposed pipeline could also be used to pump water from the Ogallala aquifer in the U.S. Midwest, one of the world’s largest, to the badly parched states in the arid southwest such as Texas, currently suffering its worst drought in history.

Pipeline industry officials often say pipelines like Keystone can be easily used to transport water, said Maude Barlow, chairperson of the Council of Canadians, a large environmental NGO.

Therefore, “Keystone XL poses a double threat to the Ogallala through contamination from a pipeline leak or by pumping water that is already being overdrawn,” Barlow said in an interview with Tierramérica. Continue reading

Canada Slashes Charity’s Funding To Protect Giant Tar Sands Project P.S. Oil companies get $2+ billion in subsidies

Please read this eloquent piece from Toronto Star columnist Catherine Porter on how the Harper govt cut funding of Kairos, a renowned church charity for telling the truth about Canada’s tar sands.

How can Canadians in good conscience try to help African women get water when it is carbon emissions from the tar sands are part of the reason they face drought?

And then Harper and his Minister Bev Oda lied and tried to cover up their vindictive actions claiming they want to improve the lives of the poor “efficiently”. (This from a govt giving billions in public subsidies to oil companies)

Here’s the first paras of Porter’s column:

A few years back, the staff at Kairos planned a trip to Nigeria’s oilfields to examine environmental damage, corporate responsibility and human rights abuses.

The board of the faith-based development organization rejected the idea. It sent them to Alberta’s tar sands instead.

“I remember saying, ‘They’ll kill us — that will be considered very political,’ ” recalls Mary Corkery, Kairos’ passionate executive director. “The churches said, ‘This is our work. Our work is inspired by faith to tell the truth. It’s a development issue if it’s far away. It’s a political issue if it’s at home. Or if it offends anyone.’ ”

Think it’s a stretch to compare Canada to Nigeria? A government that forges documents, that makes things up, that smothers dissenting opinions, that accuses the media of lying.

via Porter: Kairos does important work; we should all support it – thestar.com.

About Subsidies:

Every Day Governments Give an Estimated $2 billion to Oil, Coal & Gas Industry

About the Tar Sands:

30 Page e-book:_Oil Stains in the Boreal Forest: The Environmental Cost of Canada’s Tar Sands

Europeans stopped Canada’s Slaughter of Baby Seals – Can They Stop Canada’s Tar Sands?

Canada’s “Mordor” Ensures Climate Treaty Failure in Copenhagen

Europeans stopped Canada’s Slaughter of Baby Seals – Can They Stop Canada’s Tar Sands?

On July 17th Berliners and other Europeans will take to the streets to stop the worst environmental disaster on the planet:

Canada’s “Dirty Oil” Tar Sands

[UPDATE: See pix and story on the Stop Tar Sands “demo-fest”]

“The tar sands of Canada constitute one of our planet’s greatest threats” — James Hansen, Director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies

“Extracting oil from Alberta’s tar sands jeopardizes the survival of our species” — Al Gore

Warning of the global environmental disaster represented by Canada’s production of oil from its western tar sands, protesters will gather in front of the Canadian Embassies in Berlin, London and Copenhagen on Saturday, July 17 to mark International Stop the Tar Sands Day.

[Download poster international tar sands day A3]

The goal of International Stop the Tar Sands Day is to raise awareness in Europe that oil made from Canada’s tar sands has “two-to-three times the global warming pollution of conventional oil,” according to eminent scientist James Hansen, Director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. “But the process also diminishes one of the best carbon-reduction tools on the planet: Canada’s Boreal Forest.”

Similar protests are planned at Canadian embassies in London, Paris and Vienna.

“Ultimately only Canadian people can stop the expansion of the tar sands. Through our demonstrations we want to show Canadians there is international support for a moratorium,” says first-time organizer Derek Leahy, a Canadian living in Berlin.

“We believe Canadians will make the right decision,” Leahy said

“Although European companies and banks are profiting from Canada’s tar sands few Europeans have heard about the tar sands. We intend to change that ,” he said

[Full disclosure: this is copied from a press release and Derek is my son — Steve] Continue reading

‘Tourists Please Don’t Go To Home of Canada’s Dirty Oil Sands’ Ad Campaign

Beautiful Alberta, Canada??

US enviro group is putting up billboards in four U.S. cities urging Americans to exclude Alberta from their travel plans, saying it is “one of the world’s dirtiest destinations”.

Let’s be clear here: I am not a supporter of this use of  a big “economic” club to hit govt over the head to get their attention. It will hurt many Albertans who are in the tourist biz where many likely support a moratorium on new tar sands development. Indeed most Albertans have said they want a “time out” in the tar sands. But big oil says no way and are pushing for faster approvals of new projects with “streamlined environmental reviews” of course.

In their  Re-Think Alberta Campaign enviro groups say they are trying to counter Alberta and Canadian government propaganda. Canada is lobbying the US  to prevent any cleaner-fuel regulations because the tar sands has the world’s highest CO2 levels and is the most destructive form of oil production. Yes worse, than off shore drilling – see here for more

And they are also down here lobbying for infrastructure, new pipelines, refineries, which would keep us addicted to high-carbon oil for another 50 years.” Corporate Ethics International Executive Director Michael Marx told Reuters.

1.3 million barrels of dirty oil is shipped  from tar sands region  to the US every day

Corporate Ethics also has a powerful video about the ongoing environmental mess that can easily be seen from space it is so big.

See also International Stop the Tar Sands Day commencing July 17 (more on this later).

You can learn more on enviro impacts of the tar sands in my short ebook:

Oil Stains in the Boreal Forest: The Environmental Cost of Canada’s Oil Sands

And from my recent articles:

Canada’s “Mordor” Ensures Climate Treaty Failure in Copenhagen

Tar Sands, Riot Police & Hope in Copenhagen

— Green wishes, Steve

Carbon Capture Fraud: The $1.6 billion (and counting) Taxpayer Gift to Coal and Oil Industry

Could carbon capture and sequestration save the world?

Canadian taxpayers are putting $1.6 billion into the experiment

Desperate Times, Desperate Measures

by Stephen Leahy

Published in Nov/Dec’09 issue of Watershed Sentinel

Like a reckless gambler, the federal government’s plan to deal with our emissions of climate-altering carbon dioxide is to put most of our money on an unproven, risky and expensive long shot called “carbon capture and sequestration,” CCS for short. In a pair of October announcements, the Alberta and federal governments committed $1.6 billion to use this untested technology to reduce carbon emissions from an Alberta coal plant and a Shell Oil tar sands upgrader. Billions more are promised.

Canada puts 600 million tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year. That has to stop. This generation, you and me, must determine what methods and technologies offer permanent CO2 reduction at the scale we need, and do so quickly, safely and at the lowest cost. And we must act on that knowledge as if the future of children’s lives depend it because we are shaping the world they will inherit.

We cannot rely on political and business leaders to make these decisions on their own, as will become evident.

What other ways could we reduce our CO2 emissions with $1.6 billion of public money – $200 per Canadian family of four?

Replace 3.2 million older inefficient refrigerators with high-efficiency ones, thus reducing carbon emissions by 2-3 million tonnes annually. Continue reading