Firm planning oil pipeline from western Canada to Texas targets climate change protesters' arguments on emissions
-By Associated Press
February 20, 2013- The company that wants to build a controversial oil pipeline from western Canada to Texas said on Tuesday said that shutting down the oil sands at its source would have no measurable effect on global warming.
"You could shut down oil sands production tomorrow and it would have absolutely no measurable impact on climate change," he said.
Alex Pourbaix, TransCanada's president for energy and oil pipelines, said opponents of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline have grossly inflated the likely impact of the oil it would carry on emissions of greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming.
Canada produces just 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions, Pourbaix said at a forum sponsored by a manufacturing group that supports the pipeline. Oil sands concentrated in Alberta, where the 1,700-mile pipeline would start, make up 5% of Canada's total, Pourbaix said.
"Simple math tells us, therefore, that the oil sands represent only one-tenth of 1% of global greenhouse emissions," he said. "Even if production from the oil sands were to double, the (greenhouse gas) contribution from the oil sands would be immaterial to global" greenhouse gas production.
Pourbaix's comments came two days after a rally on Sunday by pipeline opponents drew an estimated 35,000 people to Washington. Organisers, including the Sierra Club and other environmental groups, billed the event as the largest climate rally in US history. Thousands of people marched past the White House to urge president Barack Obama to reject the $7bn pipeline and take other steps to fight climate change.
Opponents say the pipeline would carry "dirty oil" derived from tar sands that requires significantly more energy to produce and refine than conventional crude oil and which emits up to 20% more greenhouse gases than other sources.
At Tuesday's forum, organised by the National Association of Manufacturers, Pourbaix challenged the climate argument head-on. He and other TransCanada executives have previously emphasised the pipeline's safety, the jobs it will create and the fact the oil comes from a US neighbour and ally.