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When They Cal the Oilsands the Dirtiest Oil...

The facts simply do not support what anti-oilsands activists say about the oilsands' impact on climate change.
The facts simply do not support what anti-oilsands activists say about the oilsands' impact on climate change.

...From this day forward, we'll know better. Even if they don't.

As it turns out, North America's dirtiest oil -- as determined by carbon content -- is found in the Placertia oilfield outside of Los Angeles. So as it turns out, all the Hollywood types who oppose the Alberta oil sands are themselves closer to North America's dirtiest oil than they could ever imagine.

In fact, according to a study by the team responsible for California's Low Carbon Fuel Standard, there are no fewer than 13 oilfields in Californ-i-a with higher carbon content than Access Western Blend (the market name for Alberta oilsands synthetic crude).

For the record, the world's dirtiest oil is a conflict oil: Nigeria's. In Nigeria, the reckless discharge of methane during production leaves the country holding the bag for four times as many upstream greenhouse gas emissions than oilsands crude.

So in fact if one is concerned with climate change -- as so many Hollywood types are -- the best thing that could happen is to increase the availability of oilsands crude, so as to compress the market for Nigerian oil. Seeing as how global demand for oil is not going away any time soon, the best climate play is, in fact, more oilsands crude in the global market.

This is especially bad for those championing the European Union's Fuel Quality Directive as a means of keeping Alberta oilsands crude out of Europe. With that resolve already softening in the face of strategic concerns, the news that Alberta oilsands crude has a lower carbon content than African oil already allowed into Europe should almost certainly deal those efforts their deathstroke -- provided that the officials being counted on to enforce it are responding to evidence at all.

More than anything, these results simply confirm what has been true all along: so far as climate change is to any degree human-induced, oilsands crude is not the culprit. Anyone arguing that it is simply is not basing those arguments on scientific evidence.

Especially not all those Hollywood types.

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