Robert Rapier: The Facts About Canada’s Oil Sands and Climate Change

This week I was reading an article from the Associated Press called Some fracking critics use bad science. The gist of the article is that Gasland director Josh Fox used false information in his new film, The Sky is Pink. Among other things, he claimed that cancer rates were higher in Texas where fracking is taking place. Three different cancer researchers in the area contradicted him on this claim.

But then the article went on to say something that I thought was very relevant to debates on just about any controversial energy topic — fossil fuel subsidies, climate change, hydraulic fracturing:

One expert said there’s an actual psychological process at work that sometimes blinds people to science, on the fracking debate and many others. “You can literally put facts in front of people, and they will just ignore them,” said Mark Lubell, the director of the Center for Environmental Policy and Behavior at the University of California, Davis.

Lubell said the situation, which happens on both sides of a debate, is called “motivated reasoning.” Rational people insist on believing things that aren’t true, in part because of feedback from other people who share their views, he said.

As a result, misinformation is hard to stamp out, because it tends to be repeated — confirming the views people already hold. That brings me to the topic of today’s column: Climate change claims around the Keystone XL pipeline.

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3 responses to “Robert Rapier: The Facts About Canada’s Oil Sands and Climate Change

  1. The existential characteristic of liberalism, and it’s simply not possible to overstate that liberalism simply cannot exist without it, is “self-deception”.

    Whether the self deception is ‘intentional’, or the result of an honest but false set of assumptions or calculations, as long as the individual refuses to challenge their own belief structure, they are paying obeisance to the God of Ignorance.

  2. “You can literally put facts in front of people, and they will just ignore them,” pretty well describes this site, doesn’t it?


    “Climate change claims around the Keystone XL pipeline.”

    I thought the arguments against Keystone XL was the danger of a spill right over the Ogallala aquifer.

    “Construction and operation of the Keystone Pipeline system will continue to meet or exceed world-class safety and environmental standards.”

    That was a statement from TransCanada CEO Hal Kvisle in June 2010 about the commissioning of the company’s new Keystone pipeline built to bring Canadian tar sands crude from Alberta to refineries in the Midwest. One year later, the company has seen twelve oil spills from its brand new, state-of-the art pipeline — with one “six-story geyser” dumping 21,000 gallons of oil in North Dakota.

    Today, TransCanada is looking to build another pipeline, Keystone XL, to bring tar sands crude all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico. The company is again selling it as “the safest pipeline in the U.S.”

    If you can believe the earth is flat, you can believe this.

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