STUDY: The Canadian Oil Sands Energy Security vs. Climate Change (Council on Foreign Relations)

Half a decade of high and volatile oil prices alongside increasingly dire warnings of climatic disaster have pushed energy security and climate change steadily up the U.S. policy agenda. Rhetoric in Washington has emphasized opportunities to deal with both challenges at once. But energy security and climate change do not always align: many impor- tant decisions in areas including unconventional oil, biofuels, natural gas, coal, and nuclear power will involve complex trade-offs and force policymakers to carefully navigate the two goals. Ongoing and heated debates in the United States and Canada over the future of the Cana- dian oil sands—touted at once as an energy security godsend and a cli- mate change disaster—highlight that tension and emphasize the need to intelligently address it.

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