Thursday, 15 November 2012

those leftover single women are just like the tar sands

Currently reading
Seeking: A suitor with low environmental standards
Likes: long walks on polluted soil, big pipes, swims in toxic tailings lakes, the quiet calm of dwindling wildlife
Dislikes: pesky environmentalists, being told to clean up, virgin forests, healthy wildlife
Apparently, the tar sands are just like “leftover single women”, so I thought I’d lend a hand by taking a crack at an online dating profile for the lonely industry. It must be hard to find what you’re looking for with such a history of toxic relationships, not to mention that embarrassing gas problem.
At a recent conference in Beijing, a spokesperson for CNOOC said that tar sands oil will get left behind if new pipelines aren’t built to carry it to the west coast: “It’s the same situation as the leftover single women. … It will be the same for the oil sands, they will be outdated just like unmarried single women”.
First of all, tar sands, like women, don’t rot with age like leftovers sitting in a fridge. The oil has been sitting in the ground for millions of years, and is going nowhere.
Second, there’s a difference between what’s best for Canadians and what’s best for big oil. Getting tar sands oil out of the ground as fast as possible and selling it cheaply to other countries where it will be refined and burned boosts profits for oil companies in the near term. In dating terms, that’s a pretty one-sided relationship: the oil industry takes what it wants and gets profits. And what do Canadians get?  Risk of oil spills, water and air pollution and lost manufacturing jobs as the petrodollar becomes more entrenched. It also means we’re not getting as much value for our resources as we should. Not exactly an equal relationship.