As critics charged that oil companies are dictating the country's energy policy, Canada at the Bonn talks joined Japan and Russia in refusing to sign on to a renewal of emission cut commitments under the Kyoto Protocol when the current commitment period expires in 2012.
even the 'full emissions' data that
'Small oil sands companies are not required to report their emissions. And oil-refining emissions are not included in tar sands emissions,' said independent Canadian researcher Michelle Mech.
Getting oil out of the tar sands requires extraordinary efforts, including enormous amounts of energy, and the commodity has been labelled 'dirty oil' as a result.
'Average emissions for oil sands production and upgrading (well-to-pump) are estimated to be 3.2 to 4.5 times as carbon-intensive as conventional crude produced in North America,' concluded Mech's report, 'A Comprehensive Guide to the Alberta Oil Sands'.
'The tar sands are huge in terms of their impact on the environment but also on Canadian democracy. Oil is starting to run the country now,' she said.
As if to prove that assertion, the Canadian government informed nearly 200 countries participating in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiating session in Bonn that it would not sign on to a new Kyoto agreement to reduce carbon emissions.
society attending the
'Oil companies are in the driver's seat when it comes to Canadian federal energy policy, and as a result Canada is trailing other industrialised countries when it comes to taking action on climate change,' said Graham Saul of Climate Action Network Canada.
'Prime Minister [Stephen] Harper has made it clear that he will go to great lengths to ensure no door is closed to the Alberta tar sands, including lobby efforts to insulate them from more stringent regulations imposed by other countries,' Saul said in a statement.
'Governments are acting as if they are oblivious to the fact that there is a limit on how much fossil fuel carbon we can put into the air,' warned world-renowned climate scientist James Hansen. Hansen told IPS that fully exploiting the tar sands will make it impossible to stabilise the climate.
Burning just one-quarter of the proven reserves of oil, gas and coal will push the global climate beyond 2ēC of global warming, scientists have previously reported. Hansen said the international target to limit global warming to 2ēC is 'a recipe for global climate disasters' and should be changed to 1.5ēC.
of dollars are being invested in
'Taxpayers in developed countries must be outraged that their bureaucrats are coming here and playing tricks,' said Meena Raman, a negotiations analyst with Friends of the Earth Malaysia.
utterly absent is any sense of urgency from any of the developed nations,
said Mohamed Adow, senior adviser for Global Climate Advocacy at Christian
can't keep taking carbon out of the ground and putting it in the atmosphere
if we want to leave our children with a stable climate,' stressed David
Keith, Canada Research Chair in Energy and the Environment at the
Referencing the tar sands, Keith concluded: 'This means there is no such thing as sustainable production of this resource. In the long run, it must be shut down.' - IPS
*Third World Resurgence No. 250, June 2011, pp 18-19