Tag: Tar sands

Sheila McNulty

Even as the world’s oil and gas companies continue to tap into Canada’s oil sands, the movement against using the carbon-intensive fuel generated from them continues to grow. ForestEthics, which has been campaigning against the use of oil sands-generated fuel, says it now has 10 companies who have publicly taken action against the use of oil sands or other high-impact fuels.

The campaign has some big names involved. And some of the comments made by those signing up are quite strong. Tod Arbogast, Avon’s vice president of sustainability and corporate responsiblity, said in a letter to the cosmetic company’s transport and logistics service providers:

We are particularly concerned about the risks that climate change poses to the global economy and to our individual businesses. While we are taking many steps to reduce our carbon footprints, we are eager to include our supply chain partners in this effort…

We would like to work with you, our service providers, to improve the environmental footprint of our supply chain.  We feel that significant steps can be made in avoiding high carbon, high impact fuels (for example, those from tar sands), eliminating unnecessary miles, improving efficiency, shifting services to lower carbon modes and sourcing low carbon fuels. We believe that additional action to reduce carbon emissions from our transportation services is urgently required.

Sheila McNulty

Is oil sands (or tar sands, as environmentalists like to call the fuel from Canada’s tar-like bitumen) really not as bad for the environment as traditional crude oil?

At first brush, the latest report on the controversial subject, this time from the well-respected IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates, might have left me with that impression. The headline reads, “Oil Sands Greehouse Gas Emissions are Lower than Commonly Perceived.”

But a backlash by environmentalists, including the Natural Resources Defense Council, made me take a closer look at what was being said. And even CERA is not saying that oil from oil sands is less carbon intensive than traditional crude.

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