by Andy Rowell
For years the Canadian government has been lobbying governments across Europe not to “discriminate against the tar sands” as the EU implements its ground-breaking climate legislation called the Fuel Quality Directive.
The Canadians have argued that the carbon intensity of tar sands production is similar to other crudes and therefore should not be “discriminated against”.
For years, the Canadians have also been lobbying the Obama administration to approve the highly controversial Keystone XL pipeline.
On both sides of the Atlantic, a central part of their lobbying campaign has been the claim that the exploitation of the tar sands is both economically and ecologically sustainable.
But the tar sands industry has a dirty little secret that has overwhelming political and economic consequences for the development of the tar sands.
According to a new scientific analysis, many tar sands wells are actually using more energy than they produce.
From an economic and environmental perspective, this is total madness.
In fact, according to the paper, the only reason that these wells are in any way economical is due to the prevailing low natural gas price in North America.
If and when the price of natural gas increases, these wells will go bust.
So what is going on?