Over the past century, man-made emissions have increased markedly and the vast majority of scientist, in a growing volume of established studies, have concluded that the earth's climate is changing rapidly due to the alarming amount of green house gases released into the atmosphere as a result of human activitiesiv. The gases that are categorized as Green House Gases include: carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane, chlorofluorocarbon, hydroflourocarbons and tetraflouromethane. Of these gases, carbon dioxide is the most prevalent and appears to carry the largest chunk of green house gases emitted by human activities. Scientist have demonstrated that these gases accumulate in the atmosphere, and that in large concentrations, they are capable of trapping heat within the earth's surface and in the process, overriding the planet's natural climatic variability resulting in irreversible climatic changev.
This essay therefore intends to look at the problem of green house gas emission as it affects Canada's oil production, especially in the Alberta oil sands. The paper will specifically analyze how the federal and provincial governments are working towards solving this problem, with respect to the moral and legal obligations imposed on the country through the ratification of the Kyoto protocol and the competing interests of oil companies.
The federal and provincial government, though sincere about attaining the emission reduction targets set by Kyoto, do not want to compromise the wealth that accrues from the Alberta oil production. In essence, though emission reduction is gradually being achieved through the several policies and programs, the oil companies are still allowed to increase their green house gas emission, accounting for this through the purchase of emission permits, either domestically or through international alliances. From this, it can be inferred that the oil companies are willing to cooperate with the government in achieving emissions reduction, as long as it does not impact negatively on their profits.
This essay will demonstrate the tensions and compromises made between the governments and oil companies in their attempts to satisfy both economic and environmental concerns. In doing so, the first part of the essay shall take a look at the idea of ecological modernization