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Exxon CEO Advocates Emissions Tax

Russell Gold and Ian Talley, Wall Street Journal
The chief executive of Exxon Mobil Corp. for the first time called on Congress to enact a tax on greenhouse-gas emissions in order to fight global warming.

In a speech in Washington, Rex Tillerson said that a tax was a “more direct, a more transparent and a more effective approach” to curtailing greenhouse gases than other plans popular in Congress and with the incoming Obama administration.

“My greatest concern is that policy makers will attempt to mandate or ordain solutions that are doomed to fail,” Mr. Tillerson said.

The policy he is advocating is often called a carbon tax because it would be imposed on emissions of carbon dioxide, the most common man-made greenhouse gas. By backing it, Mr. Tillerson has become an unlikely member of a club that includes former Vice President Al Gore, consumer advocate Ralph Nader and President-elect Barack Obama’s designated head of the National Economic Council, Larry Summers.
(9 January 2009)
(Jan 12) EB reader Kassil writes:
It strikes me, in this urging for an ’emissions tax’, that this will merely continue and escalate the trends – that economic success, which is such a popular measuring stick, will allow those who are successful’ to continue to wantonly flout the attempts to keep the world from a spiral while the poor are made to suffer further.

The Costly Compromises of Oil From Sand

Ian Austen, New York Times
The oil that is extracted from Canadian dirt is being portrayed as saving America from energy dependence on the unstable Middle East, or an environmental catastrophe in the making — depending on the perspective.

As Barack Obama prepares to take office in two weeks, the debate is no longer academic. The president-elect has promised to move forward with an ambitious program aimed at fighting climate change.

Not all oil is alike when it comes to environmental impact, and many environmentalists single out production from the oil sands as the epitome of “dirty oil.” In a recent study, the RAND Corporation estimated that oil from the oil sands generates about 10 to 30 percent more greenhouse gases than conventional crude.

Canada, in large part because of the production capacity of its oil sands, is now the largest oil supplier to the United States. But environmental groups in both countries are pushing for a slowdown or even a halt to further oil sands development, which is concentrated in northern Alberta.
(6 January 2009)

Oil sands admits PR failure

Lauren Krugel, Globe & Mail
Canada’s oil sands industry admits it has “dropped the ball” in engaging with the public about the environmental effects of its energy developments, the head of the sector’s largest lobby group said Thursday in revealing the results of a major public outreach campaign.

“I think that the ground has been taken away from us in many respects by campaigns by environmental groups and others,” Dave Collyer, president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, told a news conference.
(8 January 2009)