The oil sands contain one of the world’s largest oil reserves. However, they are criticized as "dirty" because for every barrel of oil produced, more greenhouse gas emissions occur than with other sources of oil. In a completely independent assessment Peter Silverstone examines the facts behind the claims from both sides, explores whether this is important or not, as well as examining the evidence for global warming and possible reasons for climate change skepticism.
The book proposes a solution to make the oil sands the source of the World's Greenest Oil. It is suggested that the Royalty Rates (taxes) paid by oil companies is changed, with companies that have high rates of greenhouse gas emissions paying much higher taxes, while companies that have lower greenhouse gas emissions pay lower taxes. Such a change will give very significant financial incentives to companies to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
This solution achieves many goals. It significantly decreases greenhouse gas emissions from the oil sands, while allowing industry to develop the resource economically, as well as providing significantly increased revenues to the Alberta Government. Although not detailed in the book, an examination of the possible financial impacts of these changes is also provided here. These suggest that over a 10-year period the Alberta Government would gain more than $20 billion from such a change.
"Dr. Silverstone's new book is an informative read for any Albertan concerned about the growing greenhouse gas pollution produced by the oil sands. It highlights how failing to address the higher greenhouse gas footprint from oil sands development will have long term economic costs to Alberta. Silverstone provides an important contribution to an overdue dialogue on the need to move past public relations and drive stronger environmental performance in the oil sands industry."
Simon Dyer, Oil Sands Program Director, Pembina Institute
"There are Albertans such as ... Peter Silverstone who've written intelligent books proposing other tax and royalty policies to "green" the oil/tar sands."
Jeffrey Simpson, Globe and Mail, October 20, 2010