By Lloyd Alter
Last week, the developer behind the controversial Keystone XL pipeline pulled the plug on the $8 billion project that was slated to bring 830,000 barrels of crude oil sands a day from Alberta, Canada to the U.S. On the same day, a press release was issued claiming Canada’s largest oil sands producers have formed an alliance to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions from oil sands operations by 2050.
“Canadian Natural Resources, Cenovus Energy, Imperial, MEG Energy and Suncor Energy formally announced today the Oil Sands Pathways to Net Zero initiative. These companies operate approximately 90% of Canada’s oil sands production,” reads the press release. “The goal of this unique alliance, working collectively with the federal and Alberta governments, is to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from oil sands operations by 2050 to help Canada meet its climate goals, including its Paris Agreement commitments and 2050 net-zero aspirations.”
The plan is to gather up all the carbon dioxide from their operations and pipe them all into “a carbon sequestration hub” where it will be put into a Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage system (CCUS). There are also plans to play with “clean hydrogen, process improvements, energy efficiency, fuel switching and electrification.”
It all sounds like a very big deal, “unprecedented” if you listen to the press release. Yet in Canada’s national newspaper, The Globe and Mail, it barely made the news, jammed into the second half of a story that starts with more fashionable hydrogen. It’s hard to find anyone covering it.
That’s probably because it is a giant pile of nonsensical greenwashing.
The key reason for all the ignoring and eye-rolling is the phrase in the press release where they are talking about “emissions from oil sands operations.”