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30 Fairmont Park Lane S
Lethbridge, AB
T1K 7H7
Phone: (403) 328-1804
Friday, November 07, 2003
The Editor
The Lethbridge Herald
P.O. Box 670
AB, T1J 3Z7
Dear Editor:

The Lethbridge Herald published a Canadian Press story (Suncor may triple levels of greenhouse gases, 03/11/05, A5) noting that environmentalists believe that Suncor has modified its greenhouse gas reduction targets.

Suncor’s annual report to the Voluntary Challenge Registry does show that their oil sands emissions are expected to rise from 3.7 to 13.0 million tonnes annually from 1990 to 2008. Production is expected to increase from 21 million to 128 million barrels annually over the same period indicating a substantial reduction in emissions per barrel. (The original letter carried over a typographical error from Suncor's report to indicate oil production a thousand times lower. This was corrected on 04/01/14.)

The Kyoto Protocol accounting period starts in 2008. There is likely not much more Suncor can do to reduce emissions by that time, short of shutting down operations. Fortunately, it is anticipated Suncor will be able to buy emissions credits from others for no more than $15 per tonne per a federal government commitment. The maximum extra cost to Suncor, should they be held to the general 6% below 1990 level required by Kyoto, will be only about $150 million in 2008 – a little over one dollar per barrel. Presumably that will not be an undue hardship added to a $30 barrel of oil. 

A Calgary Herald editorial (Going nuclear: Oil sands development will suffer without this clean, cheap energy source, 03/11/06) suggests that nuclear energy should be considered as a means of harvesting bitumen.  Indeed, greenhouse gas emissions could be greatly reduced using nuclear energy. The fossil fuels saved would raise additional long term revenues for Alberta. 

Hopefully, Suncor and the Alberta government will consider that advice from the Calgary Herald as preparation for possibly more stringent post Kyoto constraints on emissions after 2012.  

Yours truly,


Duane Pendergast

Cc: The Editor, The Calgary Herald


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