A majority of Canadians say they would support moving forward with the Alberta oil sands if efforts are undertaken to minimize their environmental impacts, a new Léger Marketing poll has found.
Seventy-one per cent of respondents in the October 2012 poll indicated that industry has taken “significant” steps to limit environmental impacts, which they said is the “best approach” going forward with the oil sands.
Léger Marketing phrased its question this way:
“According to you, are the following measures to limit the environmental impact of oil sands production significant or not?”
The poll then includes the following information:
- Greenhouse gas emissions per barrel of oil produced from the Canadian oil sands have fallen by 29 per cent since 1990
- Around 70 per cent of the water used in oil sands projects is now recycled
- A new technology could soon eliminate tailing ponds, which contain toxic discharges from oil sands production
- 80 per cent of the oil sands can only be produced through drilling techniques that use much less land than mining.
The poll was conducted for the Montreal Economic Institute (MEI). It was released in conjunction with the research paper “Innovation and the greening of Alberta's oil sands” by Hiroko Shimizu and Pierre Desrochers, associate researchers at the MEI.
The paper outlines how oil sands producers are introducing new technology to cap environmental damage and production costs.
"Few people are aware that the production of a barrel of oil from the oil sands emits between 26 and 29% less greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than twenty years ago, or that more than 70% of the water used in the extraction process is recycled,” Desrochers said in an announcement echoing the poll results.
“When they are informed about this kind of progress, a strong majority of Canadians, 71% to be precise, think that these efforts to protect the environment are significant," Desrochers added.
Of note in the poll was Canadians' response to the question about environmental lobby or activist groups. When asked whether they agree with the statement, "Several environmental lobbies are too radical," 21 per cent of Canadians said they strongly agree and 31 per cent said they somewhat agree. Sixteen per cent said they somewhat disagree, 11 per cent said they strongly disagree and 21 per cent said they don't know.
Léger Marketing says a sample of 2,560 respondents would yield a margin of error of plus or minus 1.9 per cent, 19 times out of 20.
----------This article appeared on Ecolog News for Oct. 19, 2012 ------