The rapidly increasing exploitation of Canada's oil sands (NCE 27 July) is being driven by demand that is not being met by conventional sources.
Many geologists and oil industry analysts believe that production of conventional oil will peak within a decade, before starting its inexorable decline. However, alternative sources, such as oil sands, are definitely not the solution.
Producing one barrel of oil from oil sands emits three times more greenhouse gases than production of conventional light or medium crude oil.
The oil sands operations are already the largest industrial emitter of greenhouse gases in Canada and are only producing the tiniest fraction of the world's oil.
It has even been suggested that oil sands may be one reason why Canada is going back on its Kyoto Protocol commitments. This is further demonstration that there is no escape from a major reduction in global energy use in the decades ahead.
Jonathan Schofield (G), jcschofield@myway. com