Chiquita, Avon, Bellingham, Europe and others Vs. Harper: Odd we give approximately 1.5-3 Billion direct annual subsidies to the tarsands...//
TORONTO - The need for Canadian oilsands is "overwhelming" and the government will work hard to combat misinformation about its environmental impact, the prime minister said Friday.
Stephen Harper launched into a defence of the controversial oilsands at an unrelated event in Toronto, saying his government will push to get the "real information out there."
"The fact of the matter is that emissions from our oilsands are comparable to other heavy oils and that the industry continues to invest and continues to find ways to reduce those emissions," Harper said.
"It is absolutely clear if you look at the trajectory of world supply and demand, of North American supply and demand that the need for this energy is just overwhelming."
Harper's comments came in response to a question about Chiquita Brands, which announced Thursday that it would avoid using fuel from Alberta's oilsands.
The company, which sells hundreds of millions of dollars of fruit, juice and snacks around the world, said it has joined 13 other companies and one city in trying to reduce its carbon footprint.
"We are committed to directing our transportation providers to avoid, where possible, fuels from tarsands refineries," Chiquita vice-president Manuel Rodriguez wrote in a letter to Aaron Sanger of the environmental group ForestEthics.
Cosmetics giant Avon and U.S. drugstore chain Walgreen's have both made commitments similar to Chiquita's.
Others, such as Gap, Levi Strauss and Timberland, have only said they are trying to reduce the environmental impact of transporting their products. The city of Bellingham, Wash., has guidelines minimizing fuel purchases that take oilsands feedstock.
ForestEthics wants oilsands producers to clean up their operations.
Harper threw his support behind the oilsands industry and stressed its role in the economy.
"I remain very confident about the future of this industry and its ability to generate wealth for the Canadian economy," Harper said.
"This is one of the sectors that creates some of the most jobs, not just in the oil patch, but around the country in terms of manufacturing and support services, and this government will continue to do everything to promote the Canadian energy centre."
Shutting down the oilsands would reduce Canada's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by about 38.4 Mt (megatonnes) per year. While that sounds like a lot, Canada only produces 2% of the world's man-made GHGs and the oilsands only produce 5% of Canada's total emissions or one tenth of one percent [0.1%] of the world's GHG emissions. By comparison, the U.S. produces 20.2% of the world's GHG emissions, and 27% of that comes from toxic polluting coal-fired electricity.
The 530-square-kilometers currently disturbed by the oilsands (which is smaller than the John F. Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral , Fla. at 570 square kilometers) is being reclaimed as an ongoing part of the mine plan as required by law and will return to Alberta's 381,000 square kilometers of boreal forest, which is a huge carbon sink. The boreal forest absorbs 30 tons of carbon [110 tons CO2] per sq km per year. You do the maths, we've got the oil sands GHG emissions covered, and that's just with Alberta's boreal forest. Canada has about 6 million square kilometers of boreal forest, which absorbs more man-made GHGs than Canadians produce in all our cities, vehicles, aircraft and other industries. The boreal forest combined with the other forests and grasslands in Canada makes Canada a net absorber of GHGs on a global scale.
We're not only contributing an insignificant amount of GHGs, we absorb it all, as well as taking in additional CO2 produced by the world's major emitters.
Countries that prefer terrorist blood oil are free to make that choice. We don't care, there's a whole world out there that want's to buy our ethical oil instead of blood-stained terrorist oil.
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