Priority 7: Caring About Air, Land and Water
August 1, 2012
Seventh in a series on the ‘Now or Never” report of the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources (ENEV).
Priority 7 is all about pursuing a high level of environmental performance for non-renewable energy sources, in particular oil sands and coal. This is quite a complex topic, and I don’t think it would be possible for me to address all the issues surrounding it. So I am going to stick to what is in the ENEV report.
The oil sands are an enormous economic force in Canada. As I mentioned in the last post, there is a lot of research and development surrounding this resource, and new technologies are constantly adapting and improving. This R&D is often directly connected to improving environmental performance because as the oil sands continue to develop, so do the environmental challenges.
Canada also has to contend with the environmental impact of burning coal. Coal is second to oil as a global energy source, and has its own unique environmental performance challenges.
One solution to these challenges has been Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS). If you’ve been doing your homework you will know I talked about CCS in the previous post, and you can look there for more information.
So the lesson for today will be on the oil sands. Once again, my recommendation is to read, listen and learn all you can on the topic. There is a global discussion going on out there – the oil sands is in the news pretty regularly. The oil sands and the environment represent a complex topic. There are many aspects of the subjects to cover. So if you are just getting started, keep it simple and learn the basics. Here are some industry association and government resources on the oil sands and the key environmental challenges related to air, water and the land.
Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers – Oil Sands Today
Canadian Energy Research Institute – Publications
Natural Resources Canada - Oil Sands
Canadian Oil Sands Innovation Alliance – Project case studies
Alberta Government - Oil Sands