“Tell it like it is” oilsands campaign requires facts

Blog - Aug. 13, 2010 - By Simon Dyer

We think it's a shame the government of Alberta doesn't hold themselves to the same standard they hold those that disagree with them.

Case in point: Jerry Bellikka, spokesperson from Premier Ed Stelmach's office, said: "If you compare overall emissions in Ontario and Quebec with Alberta's, setting aside growth ... I think you would find both those provinces are significantly higher than Alberta." This is plain wrong. Either Bellikka is unaware of the facts or choosing to ignore them.

The fact is, as stated in Environment Canada's National Inventory Report, Alberta's total greenhouse gas emissions are twice as high as Quebec's. Similarly, Alberta's emissions have been higher than Ontario's since 1992.

Ironically, Bellikka told the CBC on July 2: "A lot of the critics out there - people who want to shut down the oilsands — aren't constrained by facts. We felt it was important for us to get out some factual information."

Syncrude oilsands operation in northern AlbertaGreenhouse gas emissions from oilsands development are a real problem, set to nearly triple from 2008 to 2020. The government of Alberta, instead of addressing the problem through stronger regulations that could result in real emissions reductions, is spinning the issue.

The most powerful way to address criticism of the oilsands isn't going to be through ongoing public relations expenditures or spinning the facts. Rather, the provincial and federal governments should introduce effective regulations they are prepared to enforce — regulations that would reduce greenhouse gas pollution based on what science tells us is necessary to prevent dangerous climate change.

Simon Dyer

Simon Dyer is the deputy executive director of the Pembina Institute. He is based in Edmonton.


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