Thursday, June 26, 2008

Editorial: Obama's views on Canadian oil don't match his country's interests

Editorial from the Vancouver Sun:

Quick now, which country is the leading supplier of petroleum to the United States? Wrong.

It's not Saudi Arabia. It is Canada by a long shot.

This year so far, the U.S. has imported more than 2.5 million barrels a day from Canada, compared with 1.5 million from the despotic desert kingdom. Last year, imports from Canada totaled 2.4 million barrels a day, compared with 1.4 million from the Saudis.

Don't take our word for it. These are figures from the June 13 report of the Energy Information Administration, which bills itself as the disseminator of official energy statistics from the U.S. government.

Democratic presidential hopeful Senator Barack Obama might want to review these numbers carefully before he again condemns Canada's leading export as a "dirty, dwindling and dangerously expensive" 19th-century fossil fuel. It also happens to be the elixir of life for the U.S. economy and will continue to be long after Obama has left the Oval office -- if he ever gets there. But Obama's energy adviser, Jason Grumet, has warned that climate change trumps oil, specifically oil from Alberta's oilsands. The production of oil from the oilsands generates about three times more greenhouses gases compared to production of conventional oil, according to U.S. environmentalists.

Obama has promised to cut U.S. dependence on foreign oil by 35 per cent by 2030 and invest $150 billion US in alternative energy. "The possibilities of renewable energy are limitless," he said in Las Vegas this week. To flip Obama's campaign slogan, that's change we can't believe in. It should've stayed in Vegas.

As we have seen with President George W. Bush's effort to enhance U.S. energy security by investing in ethanol, not only are there limits to alternative energy, but disaster results from uninformed, misguided policies.

Should the U.S. follow Obama's reckless route, Canada will have no lack of customers for its oil, which will remain the world's principal energy source for many decades. But without Canadian supplies, the U.S. will become increasingly dependent on hostile or unpredictable regimes such as those of Venezuela, Nigeria, Algeria, Angola and Russia.

Obama's attack on Canada's oil industry on the heels of his pledge to abrogate or renegotiate the North America Free Trade Agreement does not augur well for Canada-U.S. relations should he succeed in his bid to occupy the White House. If his recent comments accurately reflect the direction he intends to take his country, he will put the U.S. in peril, stifle economic growth, lower Americans' standard of living and undermine the most important trading relationship in the western hemisphere.

He has a few months to sharpen up his policies and groom his team before the presidential campaign is in full swing. Replacing his energy adviser would be a good start.

No comments: