Canadian Government Says Emissions from Tar Sands Could Double


Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from Alberta’s tar sands could double by 2020, according to a recently released report from the Canadian government. In 2009, Canada signed the Copenhagen Accord, pledging to reduce its GHG emissions 17 percent by 2020. All the decreases will be offset by the increases in tar sands emissions, and that will mean Canada will only meet 25 percent of its targets.

Guess who is the biggest purchaser of Canada’s tar sands? Let me give you a hint: A proposed project, the Keystone XL project, would take Alberta’s tar sands crude to Texas refineries via a pipeline. In fact, the pipeline would pump 500,000 barrels of tar sands crude from Alberta to Texas every day, with a $13 billion price tag.

“The keystone pipeline sends a signal from Gulf Coast refineries to Alberta that we’re open for business. Of course, that is going to drive far more production at the tar sands. And that’s a sad story from a climate perspective, because we’re talking about unlocking a lot of new emissions,” says Ryan Salmon, an energy policy advisor at the National Wildlife Foundation (NFW), in an interview with Climate Progress.

“The idea that this is fuel for America, that it will improve our energy security, is a mirage. It’s going to go to refineries, some owned by Saudi interests, and get sold off on the global market. It’s a way to connect Canadian crude producers to more refining, and easier access to the world market,” says NFW’s Salmon. “Is that really benefiting us?”

What about the emissions from the tar sands’ American cousin, shale? The method used to drill for shale is hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Fracking causes methane emissions, according to a study published this spring, and methane has a warming potential 20 times greater than carbon dioxide.

The Center for Biological Diversity calls shale and tar sands development “one of the filthiest ways to produce energy.” The Center points out that developing shale and tar sands deals a “disastrous blow to any hope of reducing atmospheric carbon to below 350 parts per million,” which is the level needed to avoid the worst effects of global warming.

Related Stories:

Radiohead Singer Speaks Out Against Tar Sands, Keystone XL Pipeline

Leaks, Lies Discovered In US-Canada Keystone Pipeline

State Department Withholds Information On Tar Sands Oil Pipeline

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons


William C
William C2 months ago

Thanks for caring.

W. C
W. C2 months ago

Thank you for the information.

Jane Warren
Jane Warren5 years ago

thnx for this.

A Keystone pipeline through an earthquake-prone area sounds like good business sense?

Duane B.
.5 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Elizabeth M.
Elizabeth M5 years ago

Why are Canada and the United States not looking for renewables??
I am Canadian and disgusted that Canada will only meet 25% reduction of GHG's.

Dan W.
Dan W.6 years ago

My brother, Tom Weis, is trekking from Canada/Montana border to Texas on his "Rocket Trike" bring awareness to local towns along the proposed pipeline route. For more info and to read his journal, go to: Please also LIKE his facebook page:

Sharon Schaffhauser

Question of the day : Do they charge you 'carbon tax' when you fill up on gasoline? If so, into whose pockets does that 'carbon tax' go? and why?

Brian F.
Brian F6 years ago

Stop this insanity now! Only Canada will become rich and benefit from this by selling oil to the world market. The USA will be the looser and have to incur the pipeline oil spills as well as future tanker spills in the Gulf.

Patricia Hughes
Patricia Hughes6 years ago

This is all about the Keystone Pipeline XL which the Republicans are trying THIS WEEK to attach to any bill passed in Congress. We need to storm Congress and the White House with Call and emails NOW.

Read more:

Carole R.
Carole R6 years ago

Well noted. Keep up the fight.