David Holt, President of Consumer Energy Alliance, submitted the following Op-Ed to Boston Globe on September 23, 2009.
If we don’t want it, others will benefit
THE SEPT. 17 op-ed by James Hansen and Aaron Sanger, “Using the market to tackle the climate crisis,’’ goes to great lengths to paint as dark a picture of Canada’s oil sands as possible, using the word “sludge’’ four times in a single paragraph, and invoking imagery from “The Lord of the Rings.’’
We’re told that carbon emissions from the oil sands “are three to five times greater’’ than from conventional oil; not mentioned is that the carbon content of oil is constant, as is the carbon profile of the fuels produced from it. Every gallon of oil-derived gasoline emits 19.4 pounds of carbon dioxide, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. And it doesn’t matter if that oil came from Canada or Colorado, the Middle East or the Midwest.
Hansen and Sanger’s solution for destroying the oil sands market? Stop buying things from businesses that use this energy. Others have suggested an outright ban on the oil sands, and have rallied around a policy known as the low-carbon fuel standard to achieve it.
But denying Americans access to this energy won’t deprive the world of its existence. If we don’t want it, our friends in China will be more than happy to take it off our hands – and emit significantly more carbon in the production, transportation, and consumption of this energy than if it had been used to create jobs, security, and competitive economic advantages closer to home.