It’s only a snippet really, buried deep in an article by a columnist on the Edmonton Sun, but its revealing all the same. Their columnist, Graham Hicks, says that every couple of years he sits down with University of Alberta Business Dean Mike Percy to talk about the Alberta economy.

“These are good days in Alberta” argues Mike Percy, “but things can always go bump in the night.” One of the “potential storm clouds” on the economic horizon is the environmental debate over oilsands.

Now Percy seems a bit of a conventional business-type who seems to think that oilsands is clean, green and sustainable. “This government” says Percy “is more than prepared to address the environmental issues of the oilsands. Environmental challenges around the oilsands are solvable – sequestering CO2, upgrading existing plant standards, bringing on new plants with the best technology.”

Now the Dean, who obviously has never seen the carnage of oil sands argues: “Against that reality is the perception of ‘dirty oil.’ If highly funded environmental groups persuade American governments to erect trade barriers, or win Supreme Court environmental challenges, we could see dramatic slowdown of oilsands development.

“That would hugely impact the Alberta economy. It could mean high unemployment, dropping house prices, less spending on health and education, lack of opportunity for our kids.”

What is climate change going to do to your kids, Mike?