‘Exaggerated hypocrisy’ of F1 tar sands protest helps Alberta’s case, argues Kenney OCN News

WASHINGTON — Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel’s exaggerated hypocrisy displayed on his t-shirt and helmet last weekend in Montreal is exactly the kind of thing Premier Jason Kenney says he needs to refute and discredit. reviews of the Alberta oil sands.

Kenney visibly relished the opportunity on Thursday to denounce Vettel as a hypocrite after the German driver showed up at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve for the F1 Canadian Grand Prix in a t-shirt that described the tar sands as “the climate crime of the Canada”.

Vettel also wore a specially designed helmet during practice and qualifying sessions on Friday and Saturday which featured the same slogan, along with pipeline graphics and images of natural forest juxtaposed against a post-industrial wasteland, and the message “Stop Mining Tar Sands”.

“I’m happy with what Sebastian Vettel has done, because I think…it’s almost like a caricature of hypocrisy,” Kenney said on Thursday during a visit to the U.S. capital, where he is part of of a delegation trying to rehabilitate Alberta’s public image. energy.

Vettel rides for Aston Martin, which is backed by Saudi Aramco – a Middle Eastern oil giant with “probably a bigger carbon footprint than virtually anyone on the planet”, Kenney said.

“I think it’s a perfect learning moment for us to say that the opposition to the tar sands comes from people who have no idea what we’re doing and who are often covered in hypocrisy.”

Kenney participated in a roundtable Thursday at the Wilson Center’s Canada Institute with members of the Pathways Alliance, a consortium of oil sands producers behind a multi-billion dollar carbon capture and storage project that they see as a potential game changer.

The ultimate goal is to transform Alberta’s oil sands production to net zero by 2050 by capturing emissions produced by burning natural gas and storing them deep in the spacious and porous geography of the Canadian Prairies. .

The shorter-term goal, however, is to shake off the reputation the tar sands have earned as a supplier of “dirty oil” and make more U.S. lawmakers aware that Canada is a viable and stable for their country’s immediate fossil fuel needs.

Those needs, Kenney said, are especially acute as motorists grapple with soaring gasoline prices, as well as record levels of inflation, supply chain pressures, labor shortages -work and other longer-term symptoms of the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine.

“They’d rather solve this problem with Canadian energy than with Saudi Arabia, Venezuela or some dictator’s oil,” he said.

“So I think we can appeal to the vast majority of Americans and people on Capitol Hill, but some of them just need to know that we’re serious about reducing emissions and respecting the environment.”

It won’t come cheap: Officials say the industry expects a final tab of about $2.5 billion per year by 2050, including about $20 billion to meet an initial storage target or eliminating 20 million tonnes of emissions by 2030.

Cenovus Energy CEO Alex Pourbaix said the timeline basically breaks down into three segments, with the first being dominated by carbon capture and storage. New, less energy-intensive methods of extracting bitumen will make the industry less dependent on natural gas over time.

These include small-scale nuclear reactors, known as small modular reactors, as well as burning hydrogen instead of natural gas to generate the steam used to liquefy bitumen and replacing steam entirely with solvents, such as butane.

“We aim to disconnect oil production in the tar sands from CO2 emissions,” Pourboix said.

“If we are able to do that, I think we will really make the case that Canadian oil should be the preferred barrel of oil certainly for US imports, but we would say worldwide.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on June 23, 2022.


James McCarten, The Canadian Press

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