A study funded by the Department of Energy released today confirms what environmentalists have been saying for years: the fuels created from tar sands are much more hazardous and carbon-intensive than traditional petroleum-derived fuels.
Researchers from Stanford University and University of California-Davis found that the emissions from tar sands fuel contained about 20 percent more carbon than conventional oil. The well-to-wheel lifecycle comparison was even worse, with tar sands products producing about four times the amount of carbon emissions that contribute to global warming.
From The Wall Street Journal:
The DOE-commissioned study is the largest to date and sets a new standard, said Adam Brandt, a co-author of the report and an assistant professor at Stanford’s Department of Energy Resources Engineering. “No one has generated a data set as comprehensive as this,” Mr. Brandt said. “It’ll provide greater clarity for the regulatory process,” he added.
The researchers looked at energy intensities from 2008 onward at 27 oil-sands projects in the Western Canadian province of Alberta, using public data from the province’s energy regulator.
This study backs up the Environmental Protection Agency’s statement, released in February, that took to task the State Department’s environmental assessment, which gave short shrift to concerns like spills, water and air pollution, and greener alternatives.
As we noted in February, the more information we learn about Keystone XL and tar sands exploitation, the more we find that President Obama’s 2013 pledge that KXL cannot be in our nation’s interest if it significantly contributes to greenhouse gas emissions.
My prediction is as close to a sure thing as Washington politics can produce.