Wrong to highlight oil sands as major source of climate change: IEA chief economist

Be careful of overstating the Alberta oil sands’ contribution to climate change, warns the International Energy Agency’s chief economist, Fatih Birol.

“The oil sands definitely makes a contribution to the increase in CO2 emissions…but the difference in getting oil from oil sands when compared to conventional oil, it is such a small contribution that it will be definitely wrong to highlight this as a major source of carbon dioxide emissions worldwide,” Birol told the Globe and Mail in an interview.

Birol also spoke about LNG, saying that British Columbia should pursue export to Asia as a way to reduce global consumption of coal-powered electricity.

“There is golden opportunity for Asia to diversify from Middle East. Canadian oil will be a security option for the Asia oil consumers, namely China, India and East Asia.”

“I expect a growing amount of Canadian energy exports will go to Asia, sooner or later, both in terms of oil and natural gas…once it starts, I would expect an acceleration of the exports will happen in a short period of time.”

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