Debating the oil sands

2010-10-06

in Canada, Economics, Geek stuff, Ottawa, Politics, The environment

On November 13th, Green Party leader Elizabeth May will be debating Ezra Levant, the author of Ethical Oil: The Case for Canada’s Oil Sands. The event is taking place at the Library and Archives Canada on November 13th.

2:30pm – showing of the film “Mine Your Own Business

4:00pm – approximate debate start time

It should be interesting. I may show up myself to ask Ms. Levant about the oil sands, climate change, and the importance of cumulative emissions.

I found out about the event via Apt 613.

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. November 28, 2011 at 1:01 pm

But back to the oil: the word “Canada” appeared in the headlines of a total of six stories about Alberta oil. All of them presented the oil sands and their output in a negative light.

Looking more widely, there have been 129 stories in British papers this year containing the phrases “Athabasca oil,” “oil sands” or “tar sands” (the latter term is more popular in Britain). The largest share were about the large-scale public campaign, including many celebrities and arts figures, to get BP to end what the conservative Daily Telegraph calls its “controversial oil sands project in Canada.” Many of the rest were about the U.S. battle to stop Canada’s Keystone oil pipeline; regardless which paper, they tended to assume that the oil is an ecological threat.

About half of those 129 stories cast Canadian oil in a negative light (perhaps a quarter, appearing in the business pages, presented it as a promising investment). Interestingly, the negative stories appear equally distributed across the left-leaning papers (The Guardian, The Independent and the Observer) and the conservative ones (The Times, The Telegraph and their Sunday counterparts).

The phrase “ethical oil,” by the way, could not be found in any British newspaper, quality or otherwise, even once this year.

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