A new study by Oil Change International (working with the Natural Resources Defense Council) has found that petroleum coke (petcoke), a byproduct of the tar sands extraction process, is even worse for the environment than coal.
The Canadian tar sands will produce about 5 billion tons of petcoke; enough to fuel 111 US coal plants all the way to 2050. The burning of petcoke raises the greenhouse gas emissions of the tar sands by 13% over figures reported by the State Department. The study claimed: “the climate impact of oil production is being consistently undercounted.”
American Petroleum Institute spokesperson Jack Gerard, countered arguments saying the Keystone Pipeline is essential to economic development and that it will create 5 5000 jobs. Proponents of the project are desperate to move forward as extracted Alberta oil piles up, driving down prices. With Americans shifting towards frakking oil in their own backyards, the pipeline is becoming less economically viable.
Opponents of the project are scrambling to produce more of these studies to bolster support for shelving the project, but little attention is being paid to their efforts. In the end, it will be economics rather than environmental concerns that determine the fate of the Keystone pipeline.
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*Image courtesy of CBC news