I blog about environmental and social justice issues because I am very concerned about the health of the interdependent web of life of which we are a part.

Melting Arctic ice.......beautiful and frightening!

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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Greening The Tar Sands

An article in today's Globe and Mail on companies developing technology to green tar sands mining:
 there remains a profound skepticism on the part of industry to embrace new technology. It's visible in spending patterns – energy companies spend half as much on research and development than the Canadian industrial average. 
An inventor having difficulties raising enough money to build a prototype to test his technology stated:
“I'll be blunt, part of the problem is Alberta,” he says, blaming government-owned research facilities who control the flow of some research dollars. “I think part of the issue is that we may represent competition to the steam status quo. … I don't understand that myself. The industry has so much to gain and so little to lose.”
Does the industry reluctance to innovate have anything to do with the federal government?
Canadians will still have a lengthy wait before Ottawa rolls out its climate change plan, despite a tentative political accord at the Copenhagen summit.   The delays will make it more difficult, and potentially more costly, for Canada to meet its target to reduce emissions by 20 per cent from 2006 levels by 2020. Companies are continuing to invest – particularly in the emissions-intensive oil sands sector – without knowing what emissions limits they will face. If regulations are put in place in 2010, the country will have to reduce emissions by 17.3 megatonnes a year to meet the target; by delaying until 2012, the annual effort increases to 21.6 megatonnes.
Perhaps the Canadian government should implement greenhouse gas emissions regualtions soon so that tar sands miners have an incentive to invest in better technology.  Please send the PM a letter on the subject ...

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