I noted with astonishment the column “Oil sands phase-out may be Canada’s greatest contribution to the world” in the Sept-Oct, 2014 issue of the Canadian Chemical News (ACCN). Frankly, I am equally surprised by the call for a “phase-out” of the Canadian oil sands.

Who are the scientists you claim to have concluded that “fossil fuels must remain in, or return to, the ground if we are to address global warming…?” Are you perhaps referring to those whose livelihood depends on perpetuating the CO2-global-warming myth invented and propagated by politicians like Al Gore? I am a scientist who does not buy into that claim and there are many others like me. In fact, you state that “a survey of engineers and geoscientists in Alberta found that just 36 percent accept that humans are the main cause of global warming.”

As you may know, China and India are rapidly expanding the use of coal for electric power generation, at a rate of one new power plant per week. Even Germany and Denmark are building new coal-power generation capacity. The use of fossil hydrocarbons is also expanding worldwide.

Though the province of British Columbia is blessed with more available hydropower than most other provinces, when you drive your car or fly to the next conference you are using fossil hydrocarbons, perhaps even originating from the oil sands. If not from fossil energy resources, where is the gasoline or jet fuel to come from? The column does not give any hint on that.

While hydrocarbons can readily be synthesized, even from limestone and water, that process requires more than just a few turbines. South Africa and a few other places use the Fischer-Tropsch process to create much of their liquid hydrocarbons, with coal as the carbon source.

Do you actually think that the CO2 molecules coming out of a coal-fired power plant in China are different from those arising from the combustion of Canadian oil sands products? I surely hope not. Therefore, I am also appalled that ACCN actually published the column. In my opinion it is a politically motivated diatribe devoid of any true foresight and unbecoming to the reputation of the Chemical Institute of Canada and ACCN.