We should stop Chinese Investment in Canadian Oil Sands

Canada approved Cnooc Ltd’s $15.1 billion takeover bid for oil -sands from operator Nexen Inc.  Shareholders have approved the deal, but it still needs approval from the U.S. and British governments because of assets that Nexen holds in those countries. WSJ Dec 8, 2012


What are the climate implications of $15 billion more invested in oil development? One gallon of gasoline, when burned, adds 20 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) to the air. How many gallons does $15 billion buy? Any science lab can demonstrate that CO2 warms air. See video demonstration. If you’re not sure whether the warming is affecting the world, see this video of melting glaciers , and  go see the new movie ‘Chasing Ice.’

It takes the CO2 a couple decades to warm the air and ocean, so the 10% increase in severity of storms (witness Sandy), the droughts, fires, floods and the fact that there are now twice as many record high temperature events than record cold temperature events, all these are the result of burning fossil fuels 20 years ago. What we burn today will cause a quantum worse weather extremes, over the coming years,  before most people pay off their mortgages.

IEA is not a group of tree huggers. According to IEA deputy executive director Richard Jones,  “Under current policies, we estimate that energy use and CO2 emissions would increase by a third by 2020 and almost double by 2050. This would likely send global temperatures at least 6 degrees Celsius [10.8 degrees Fahrenheit] higher. Such an outcome would confront future generations with significant economic, environmental and energy security hardships — a legacy that I know none of us wants to leave behind.”

We should oppose this investment in Canadian oil sands. Our government should encourage additional investment in American produced clean energy. We can compete, drive down the cost of energy, and revitalize our economy.

We make choices in energy policy. For a century American government chose to encourage the use of fossil fuels. We  bought it, paid for highways and airports, defended access to it with the blood of our brave troops, and subsidized it to encourage more development. It was not wrong for most of that time; but now it is wrong to continue. Times change. We cannot afford to increase the risk of more $60 billion storms. We cannot afford rising costs of fossil fuel dredged from the ocean floor and squeezed from sand. The manufacture of clean energy technology is an affordable, competitive proposition, which will stop the destabilization of the climate.  It is the choice we need to make.