Enzo Di Matteo, Now Magazine, Toronto,
If you haven’t heard, the tar sands are in trouble. There’s fear in the oil patch. Turns out those rosy predictions that riches would flow forever from the fountains of crude aren’t panning out. Maclean’s weighed in with a cover story this week characterizing the situation as a full-blown crisis. Blame the vagaries of the global oil pricing system. Blame the depressed U.S. economy. Blame overconfident oil industry execs who’ve used wild projections to tout the tar sands as Canada’s economic saviour. Unfortunately, most of them didn’t foresee the fact that our biggest customer – tar sands crude is almost exclusively shipped to the U.S. – could be self-sufficient by 2030 thanks to untapped shale reserves in the northern states.
Editor’s note: Of course if fracking and shale reserves get stopped (they’re hotly contested in New York State and elsewhere), this might change. And it might also change when and if public awareness of International Energy Agency and World Bank warnings of the deadly consequences of burning more than a third of the oil we already know about before 2050.