Tag Archive: Technology


Alberta’s oil sands are a reasonably sized source of oil located in one of Canada’s Prairie provinces, Alberta. Ezra Levant is a Canadian lawyer and blogger with an interesting opinion on the oil sands.

Environmentalists are constantly thinking about what they could be doing better to sell action on climate change. The folks on the other side, possibly including Ezra Levant, apparently are not afflicted with the same sense of self doubt.

How else can you explain a rebranding exercise being embraced by conservative commentators in Canada to market the produce of Alberta’s tar sands as “ethical oil”?

The case is being made in a new book by conservative activist Ezra Levant called: “Ethical Oil: The Case for Canada’s Oil Sands”.

From what I can glean in press reports, the gist of Levant’s argument is that yes, Canadian tar sands oil is really, really bad for the planet — it produces three times the greenhouse gas emissions as convention oil, poisons rivers and destroys ancient boreal forest — but it’s politically smarter than buying from the Middle East or Venezuela.

Or as Levant so subtly puts it:

“You can’t fill up your car’s gastank with solar panels or windmills or cold fusion or dilithium crystals. It’s Canadian ethical oil, or Saudi terrorist oil.”

It’s pretty clear to me that Ezra Levant cares more about politics than the environment. To Levant, Canadian ‘ethical oil’ is better than the alternative, Saudi ‘terrorist’ oil. But at what price does it come? Is it REALLY ethical if it means three times the emissions and destroying ancient forest?

For the larger part of my childhood, I grew up in and around these forests. It is NOT ethical oil if beautiful boreal forest is destroyed, no matter how great the political benefit.

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“Work to remove the 300-ton piece of equipment that failed to stop the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico could be delayed into the weekend or longer because of rough seas, the federal government’s point man on the spill response said Tuesday.

Engineers hoped to begin the operation Monday but were stopped by the rough waters, retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said. Seas were 6-feet or higher Tuesday, but Allen believes they would have to be closer to 4 feet for the work to be done safely.

The process involves removing the cap that stopped oil from gushing from the site of the spill in mid-July, then removing the failed blowout preventer and replacing it with a new one. That would clear the way for completion of a relief well and the final, permanent plugging of the well with mud and cement from the bottom.

Officials don’t believe more oil will leak when the cap and blowout preventer are removed, but they are preparing just in case.

Allen addressed reporters after a private meeting with Billy Nungesser, the president of coastal Plaquemines Parish, who for months after the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion was a frequent critic of Allen and the overall response of BP and the government. Nungesser frequently complained that responders were too slow to get equipment in place where needed to keep oil off beaches and out of sensitive coastal marshes.” -Kevin McGill, BusinessWeek

This recent news on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill has me wondering whether or not this new cap is the greatest idea.

I just hope that this technology does work and the blowout preventer ends up successful so that the spil site can be closed off. It seems to me that the author has a similar viewpoint- he seems to believe that the environment is quite important and it is necessary that as little goes wrong as possible. His viewpoint is professional but it is difficult not to be critical of government actions and caring for the environment, which the author gives the impression of in the full article.

I believe his thought of criticism of the actions of BP and the government is deserved and that the environment should be of importance those who inhabit it. Let’s just cross our fingers that the blowout preventer works so that we can seal off the spill site.