Oil Change International

Exposing the true costs of fossil fuels

Big Oil Front Group Fights for Tar Sands

tar-sandsThe debate on energy and climate is littered with corporate front groups scare-mongering over action on climate change at the moment.

On the blog we have recently talked about the American Petroleum Institute’s astroturf “Energy Citizen” campaign and American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCE)’s fake letter writers.

What about the “Consumer Energy Alliance” – that “calls itself a nonprofit, nonpartisan coalition comprised of 120 affiliates and more than 180,000 grassroots.”

Actually the Alliance is a front for big oil. It comes as no surprise that affiliates to the CEA are all the big oil companies such as BP, Exxon, Conoco and Royal Dutch Shell and industry heavyweights such as the American Petroleum Institute.

Big Oil is running scared about the growing anti-tar sands campaign that is going global, so it is trying to deceive the public by using corporate front groups to fight its corner.

As the Globe and Mail pointed out this week, the “Alliance has launched a public relations and media blitz that directly challenges the environmentalists’ attacks on the Canadian oil sands.”

The CEA is trying to argue that, if the Americans don’t buy the tar sands, China will. The front group is trying to argue that there is no point in Americas opposing oil from the tar sands, because if they don’t use it “Communist China” will. At the same time it will make the US more dependent on Middle East oil.

That’s the same kind of logic as saying if I didn’t shot him, someone else would have done. It doesn’t actually make sense.

It also doesn’t factor in any conversation to renewable energy or the benefits of energy efficiency or the fact that – as we pointed out yesterday – demand for oil in the developed world has peaked.

As the Globe and Mail points out: “The campaign is part of an aggressive, multi-pronged effort by the oil industry – backed by other leading business organizations – to oppose the climate-change agenda favoured by President Barack Obama as well as the Democratic leadership, and even some Republicans, in Congress.”

As part of its pro-tar sands PR push, the Alliance is leading the fight against the low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS), a move that could threaten tar sands expansion in the US, although it has been dropped from both the House and Senate Climate bills. It is arguing that, in enacted, the LCFS “would deny millions of Americans access to Canadian energy without materially affecting global emissions of greenhouse gases.”

In reporting CEA’s antics, the Globe and Mail argues that “Big Oil” is using “Red Scare” tactics to bully America into buying “Dirty Oil”.

This is exactly what is happening.

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