Tar Sands Oil Some of World’s Dirtiest: Report


From TheTyee.ca – Jan 14, 2011

Findings counter studies that put bitumen’s carbon footprint slightly higher than regular crude.

A report
by a major global research group representing the world’s 10 largest
car buying markets has concluded that Canada’s bitumen is one of the
world’s dirtiest oils due to its poor quality, low gravity and the vast
amount of natural gas needed to enrich it.

The study for the International Council on
Clean Transportation (ICCT), which looked at the carbon intensity of oil
from 3,000 fields now supplying European gasoline markets, also concluded that increasing reliance on dirty fuels will raise greenhouse gas emissions by 45 per cent above that of conventional oils.

The findings of the ICCT, a group that does
technical research on the environmental performance of automobiles,
contradicts modeling studies
funded by the Alberta government and the oil sands industry which claim
that bitumen has only a five to 15 per cent higher carbon footprint
than conventional crude.

The study calculated the amount of green
house gas emissions created by extracting, moving and refining different
types of crude oil based on specific characteristics including weight,
viscosity, purity, age of the field, leaks and the flaring of waste
gases. (About 20 per cent of oil’s carbon footprint comes from the
production and refining process: the rest comes from cars burning

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About Damien Gillis

Damien Gillis is a Vancouver-based documentary filmmaker with a focus on environmental and social justice issues - especially relating to water, energy, and saving Canada's wild salmon - working with many environmental organizations in BC and around the world. He is the co-founder, along with Rafe Mair, of The Common Sense Canadian, and a board member of both the BC Environmental Network and the Haig-Brown Institute.