We Need the Oil, We Need the Tar Sands: Debunking Rhetoric Around the World’s Dirtiest Energy Project
Coming into the climate talks happening in Doha, the fossil fuel industry commented that Canada’s approach to climate change was a “elegant”. Last year in Durban, our Environment Minister said outright that he was negotiating on behalf of the tar sands. This project weighs heavily on this process, with corporate influence running rampant, and Parties taking the expansion of the tar sands more seriously than the incredible impacts that this project has been partially responsible in creating. This project manifests itself at home in a different way, it tells a different story; one that runs deep into the economy and politics of our country.
As Canadians, we are told that we need the tar sands for jobs, energy security; to the great benefit of both Albertans and everyone else. But what often remain unsaid, is that this project only really gives us a clear path to climate chaos, sucks 1.4 billion dollars in subsidies from public coffers every year, and creates sick, suffering communities downstream. To me, none of those things are what Canada needs.
To break down their rhetoric into three main points.
1. If we want job creation in Canada, expanding the fossil fuel industry is not the way to create long-term job security:
2. Again, if we want energy security, or any security at all for that matter, stopping expansion of the tar sands, keeping below 2 degrees of warming, and shifting our society to a renewable energy system and economy is the best way to do that. The tar sands were never intended to provide energy security to Canadians, and for what our climate needs, never will.
3. The tar sands cause an incredible amount of destruction in its many surrounding communities. Cancer, other forms of illness, loss of culture and tradition, and environmental destruction take a serious toll on many Albertans, especially the First Nations communities of Fort Chipewyan, Fort McKay, Beaver Lake, among many others. For a few to benefit, many suffer.
There are many things that Canadians need: accessible post-secondary education, a national child care program, and running water to over a hundred reserves across the country. The dirtiest energy project in the world, I think we could do without.