So, I guess Alberta now knows what it feels like to be Toronto…

In a recent CBC news story, “secret” government documents were discovered, outlining some of the disastrous effects the tar sands would have on Canada’s overall CO2 emissions and the research being done to prevent the projected emission spike.

16% of total CO2 emissions by 2020 will be from the tar sands alone and the current plan of CCS (carbon capturing sequestration) has been projected by the aforementioned gov’t doc to only being able to capture a small portion as the majority of the emissions given off by the tar sands “aren’t pure enough”. The full document goes further to outline the prohibitive costs of CCS; which I suppose was not a problem for Alberta, until the recession that is; as well as other roadblocks in implementing this in Alberta for the use of the tar sands.

This comes quick on the heels of Stelmach’s $1.8 billion  royalty forgiveness package, which gives oil companies a nice little break on oil royalties in order to keep tar sands production at a steady rate. Funny enough, 1.8 billion is the same number of litres a day that the toxic tailing ponds grow due to oil sands production.

It does beg the question that if Stelmach is so hell bent on continuing tar sands production, what exactly does he plan on doing to ensure that this man made natural disaster doesn’t bring Canada even further away from reducing greenhouse gas emissions. As we have already blown most developed country’s out of the water with our increased emission rates and shown how effective it is to NOT follow Kyoto emission standards it only seems fitting to continue to destroy Alberta’s lands, poison its people and make life that much worse for all Canadians.

As our heritage fund losses money in investments and post secondary funding gets cut, as hospital waiting lines see no shrinkage and there is still a shortage of rural doctors; our government is spending $2.5 billion to fund research towards CCS technology which will do very little to stop the CO2 emissions from the tar sands. A commodity that takes 10 barrels of water for every 1 barrel of oil when there are reservations in this province that don’t even have access to clean drinking water (most often found by the Athabasca river due to the leaching of toxins from the tailing ponds…).

Clearly, this investment really is what is best for Alberta.

So, I guess the $1.8 billion dollar question is: is this all we pay our taxes for?

Credit: Mike Soron for his insightful and thought provoking post.

For more information on the tar sands:

http://www.tarsandswatch.org/

http://oilsandstruth.org/

http://www.cbc.ca/doczone/tarsands/

http://alberta.pembina.org/

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