The future of energy: oil sands

According to an article from Agence France-Presse, ExxonMobil's Canadian subsidiary is going ahead with a $7BILLION project in Alberta to mine oil out of the oil sands. It's supposed to eventually produce 300,000 barrels per day. That's a spicy meatball.

The company is also touting (read: "greenwashing") it's carbon emissions and efficiency standards, claiming to have reduced emissions by 7% last year. To their credit, they aren't talking about reducing their use of fossil fuels, just being more efficient with them.

What does it all mean? ExxonMobil's products account for a gigantic chunk of fossil fuel carbon emissions, and the fact that they are pouring billions of dollars into expansion means they don't expect to be selling less fossil fuel any time soon. That they are getting more efficient in their treatment of fossil fuel just indicates that they are trying to squeeze every last penny from the cheap fuel (and also get to claim they are being "green"). At the end of the day, these stories are the ones that make me pessimistic that anything will abate humanity's appetite for cheap, dirty energy. Sure there is hope in increasingly aggressive restrictions and regulation of carbon emissions, but with the power/money behind the ExxonMobils of the world, it's hard to imagine that they don't have plenty of wiggle room, nor that they will fail to get more wiggle room built into future regulations.

Or maybe I'm just having a bad day. Read more about ExxonMobil's intersection with climate and environmental issues in a WaPo piece from a couple years ago by Steven Mufson.

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