Climate Math

In a previous article we discussed peak oil math.

We saw that in Canada our oil sands operations produce about 12 barrels per second in 2007.

Depending on the technology used to extract the bitumen from the oil sands 80 - 120kg of CO2 per barrel is dumped into the atmosphere.

Recently the Canadian government has proposed a 20% reduction in this per barrel rate by 2020.

Herein lies the problem. The climate physics in the atmosphere only cares about absolute emissions.

Let's do the math.

At the moment the oil sands emits somewhere between 1000-1500kg per second of CO2 into the atmosphere.

Many analysts are projecting that growth in the oil sands will triple the daily production by 2020. ie. 12 -> 36 barrels per second.

Supposing the industry meets the 2020 intensity targets. ie. the CO2 emissions drop to 65-100kg/barrel.

By 2020 the oil sands will emit 2300-3600kg per second.

In absolute terms this represents 240% increase in absolute emissions in 13 years.


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