Is there really a demand for new oil and gas? New Climate Change info from Al Gore's Climate Reality Project

Is there really a demand for new oil and gas? New Climate Change info from Al Gore's Climate Reality Project
Posted on August 3, 2013 | James O'Grady | Written on August 3, 2013
Letter type:


The Bulldog

Author's Note:

Author's Note:

This is a comment I made on Ken Gray's blog today in response to his post about Sierra Club's press release regarding its opposition to the Energy East pipeline that will run through Ottawa.

Click on the Bulldog link above my letter or the link below it to read Sierra Club's press release.

I just returned last night from three days of training in Chicago by Al Gore for the Climate Reality project. In traveling there (car pooling in a Prius), it was interesting to see how low gas prices are in the US (90 cents/litre) compared to Canada ($1.30/litre) and Europe (approx. $4.00/litre).

I think that if there really was a greater demand for oil and gas in the US and Canada, as our Prime Minister would have us believe, the price of gasoline would be higher. Economics 101 says that greater demand drives prices up. Therefore, if there was a greater need for oil and gas, then the price at the pump would reflect that demand, but it doesn't.

At the same time, I have learned that the climate crisis is far worse than Canadians realize. Because it's not in our face as much as it in other parts of the world, it really hasn’t hit home yet. But, for those areas that have been hit hard, like in New Jersey and New York from Hurricane Sandy, the reality of the situation is starting to become clear. For example, a number of insurance companies lost money last year due to climate change related claims. The fact that some areas may become uninsurable as a result of reoccurring climate related events like floods and droughts poses a serious long term threat to these communities because if they can’t get insurance, they can’t rebuild.

I’m not convinced the oil is going to run through pipelines. Pipelines are just as risky as rail or more so after the new Canadian rail safety measures are implemented.

Another thing I learned this week: oil and gas companies are being subsidized trillions of dollars each year by governments around the world. Companies that make billions of dollars each year and who have a virtual monopoly on the global energy sector. If only a faction of that money were redirected to the research and development of green energy solutions and more efficient technology, a better balance could be achieved in a relatively short period of time. As I like to say about difficult challenges, ‘if there is a will, there is a way’.

Unfortunately, the lack of action by governments around the world is starting to show. Climate scientists believe that every climate event, i.e. weather systems, will get more extreme, whether it's a cold snap in the middle of summer like last week, or a record setting heat wave as the US experienced during the first two weeks of July.

As a new volunteer in Al Gore’s Climate Reality Leadership corps, I will be presenting the former US Vice President’s most recent information on the climate crisis. Anyone interested in hearing what climate scientists now know about how this global crisis is evolving can contact me at

About The Author

James OGrady's picture

I am the founder of Unpublished Media--A social media entrepreneur, communications professional, part-time school teacher and community leader living in Nepean, Ontario. I am also a hockey goaltender, political hack... More


On a related vein, an article published today by Postmedia News and appearing in the Ottawa Citizen and the Vancouver Sun pointed out how Americans of widely differing political stripes, from left to right, are all advocating moving away from dependency on oil and developing sustainable energy sources and transportation systems. The article suggested that this could be a threat to Canada and that Canada will need to find new markets for its oil elsewhere. But maybe Canada needs to get with the new program and become a leader in green technologies. All it takes is the political will to redirect spending. We could start with a high speed rail corridor linking the Quebec - Windsor corridor, much like Califoria is talking about down the west coast.

Bob Lyman


From your comments, I can only conclude that Al Gore's Climate Change Reality Project knows nothing about energy markets in North America or the world. I will address only a few points in your comments. First, oil consumption in the United States and Canada has been declining since 2005. Production has also been rising. According to the Energy Information Administration, the most authoritative source of information on U.S. energy supply and demand, U.S. demand for oil dropped from a peak of 20.8 million barrels per day in 2005 to 17.5 million barrels per day in 2012. Production rose from 8.3 million barrels per day in 2005 to 11.2 million barrels per day in 2012. In spite of this, the United States continues to be a major oil importer. The International Energy Agency, the most authoritative source of data on world oil markets, projects that the U.S. will continue to be a major oil importer for at least the next twenty years, notwithstanding the growth in domestic oil production. There is plenty of demand for more oil from Canada to displace the oil now imported from the Middle East, Venezuela and other less secure sources.

You linked this to the price of gasoline. Actually there is a very tenuous connection between the overall demand for crude oil in any country and the price of gasoline in that country. The price of crude oil is determined in world markets, not in the United States and that is only one component of the price of gasoline. The demand for crude oil and the demand for gasoline as a product both have a large influence on gasoline prices, Added to that are the costs of transportation refining, marketing and taxes.

You said that you thought that oil pipelines were not safe. If you learned that from the Climate Change Reality Project, I don't know where they get their data. Within North America, there are over 200,000 miles of pipelines that transport crude oil and refined petroleum products from where they are produced to where they are consumed. Every year, about 7000 more miles of pipeline are laid. Since the 19th century, when the pipeline system was first established, until today, pipelines have been demonstrated to be the safest, most reliable, economical and environmentally favourable way to transport oil throughout the continent. The annual number of pipeline spills has decreased by 500% over the past thirty years, according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) data. The amount of oil spilled is less than 3 million gallons per year, compared to the 130 billion gallons of oil that is consumed. In other words, the oil spilled is 0.002% of the oil consumed. To be sure, that is not zero, but it is a remarkably low amount. Every year, the technology for avoiding spills improves and standards are raised.

Those are the facts, and they are easily verifiable in any authoritative source of information on energy markets and infrastructure.