McCain and Obama Stand United on Canada's Oil Sands

McCain and Obama Stand United on Canada's Oil Sands
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Barack Obama made headlines across Canada last week over his proposed national “low carbon fuel standard.” Such a proposal, if implemented, would be a serious hit to Canada’s oil sands operations, which emit about 3 times the amount of greenhouse gas to produce when compared to the production of a conventional barrel of oil.

Not nearly as prominent in the Canadian press was an article in the Washington Times the week before reporting that presumptive Republican presidential candidate John McCain shares a similar view as Obama on a “low carbon fuel standard.” The Washington Times reported that:

Mr. McCain, who just this week praised Canada as a secure source of oil, embraced a national fuel standard plan last year at a press conference with California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Mr. McCain has made his support for environmental issues a major part of his presidential campaign, and uses it as a key issue where he breaks with many other Republicans.”

So both presumptive candidates in the Fall race for the White House have their doubts about Canada’s dirty oil. A fact that no doubt has Canada’s oil executives at least a little nervous.

Here’s a few facts about the Alberta tar sands from the Pembina Institute:

  • Tar Sands operations could eventually cover 149,000 square kilometers of pristine forest – that’s an area roughly the size of Florida.
  • Each day the tar sands use 600 million cubic feet of natural gas to, in effect, melt the tarry sludge into a usable form – that’s enough natural gas to heat more than 3 million Canadian homes.
  • Producing a barrel of oil from the tar sands produces three times more greenhouse gas than a barrel of conventional oil.
  • Tar sands operations use about the same amount of freshwater in a year that the entire City of Calgary uses (population 1 million) – 90% of this freshwater ends up in toxic tailing ponds.
  • Toxic tailing ponds already cover more than 50 square kilometers and are considered to be one of largest man-made structures in the world.
McCain and Obama Stand United on Canada's Oil Sands

Kevin is a contributor and strategic adviser to DeSmogBlog.

He runs the digital marketing agency Spake Media House. Named a “Green Hero” by Rolling Stone Magazine and one of the “Top 50 Tweeters” on climate change and environment issues, Kevin has appeared in major news media outlets around the world for his work on digital campaigning.

Kevin has been involved in the public policy arena in both the United States and Canada for more than a decade. For five years he was the managing editor of DeSmogBlog.com. In this role, Kevin’s research into the “climate denial industry” and the right-wing think tank networks was featured in news media articles around the world. He is most well known for his ground-breaking research into David and Charles Koch’s massive financial investments in the Republican and tea party networks.

Kevin is the first person to be designated a “Certified Expert” on the political and community organizing platform NationBuilder.

Prior to DeSmogBlog, Kevin worked in various political and government roles. He was Senior Advisor to the Minister of State for Multiculturalism and a Special Assistant to the Minister of State for Asia Pacific, Foreign Affairs for the Government of Canada. Kevin also worked in various roles in the British Columbia provincial government in the Office of the Premier and the Ministry of Health.

In 2008 Kevin co-founded a groundbreaking new online election tool called Vote for Environment which was later nominated for a World Summit Award in recognition of the world’s best e-Content and innovative ICT applications.

Kevin moved to Washington, DC in 2010 where he worked for two years as the Director of Online Strategy for Greenpeace USA and has since returned to his hometown of Vancouver, Canada.

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