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Exclusive Interview: Why Tar Sands Oil Is More Polluting and Why It Matters

Adam Brandt, global expert on the carbon footprint of fuels, explains why oil sands' 20% greater greenhouse gas emissions are significant.

May 22, 2012
(Page 4 of 4 )
Oil sands upgrader

Brandt: I put quite a bit of work into trying to understand what was going on there. It looks like…their fuel mix is a little different.

ICN: And by fuel mix, you mean the natural gas used to mine the bitumen?

Brandt: Yes, or the diesel used to drive the trucks. Whatever fuel is consumed during the process—that's what generates the emissions.

ICN: Can you compare the amount of energy used to produce a barrel of oil sands fuel with the amount of energy gained from burning that barrel of fuel?

Brandt: I'm going to be looking at that this summer. We're working on a study.

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