Many of you were likely surprised to see an article in the Globe and Mail this past Sunday that cited a recent study by world-renown climate scientist, Dr. Andrew Weaver, on the impact on global warming of the Alberta tar sands vs. the world's coal reserve. Surprised that is, because the article left the impression that Dr. Weaver's work gives carte blanches to unrestricted oil development in Canada.
It would be a huge mistake to interpret our results as some kind of a "get out of jail free" card for the tar sands. While coal is the greatest threat to the climate globally, the tar sands remain the largest source of greenhouse gas emission growth in Canada and are the single largest reason Canada is failing to meet its international climate commitments and failing to be a climate leader. The world needs to transition away from fossil fuels if it wants to avoid dangerous human interference with the climate system. That means coal, unconventional gas, and unconventional oil all need to be addressed.