Oil sands mining transforms the landscape Photo: David Dodge, Pembina Institute

American mayors attending their annual meeting in Florida this week adopted a resolution that "supports federal legislation that prohibits government use of unconventional or synthetic fuels" derived from CO2-intensive sources such as oil sands or shales and "encourages" mayors to boycott the use of these fuels in their own municipal fleets. Although it seems to have gone largely unmentioned in the American press, the same can not be said of the Canadian media. There, newspapers and and other media outlets are crammed with articles and editorials denouncing the decision with headlines such as, "Oilsands boycott bad for U.S., premier warns" and "Critics say US mayors ignoring energy reality".

Already on the defensive on the domestic front after the deaths of hundreds of ducks from mining pollution and opposition to the Conservative-led federal governments willingness to sacrifice over a dozen lakes to tailings contamination, advocates for the mega-money oil sands projects seem none too happy to hear criticism emanating from South of the border. Their reminders that China and India would be only too happy to buy their "dirty" oil do seem a little over the top though since the resolution was more of a toothless wish than an actual ban. Text of the resolution after the jump.

[Source: CTV]

Resolution No. 57
Submitted By:
The Honorable Kitty Piercy
Mayor of Eugene
The Honorable Gavin Newsom
Mayor of San Francisco
The Honorable Marty Blum
Mayor of Santa Barbara
The Honorable T. M. Franklin Cownie
Mayor of Des Moines

HIGH-CARBON FUELS

1. WHEREAS, The U.S. Conference of Mayors has previously adopted strong policy resolutions calling for cities, communities, and the federal government to take actions to reduce global warming pollution; and

2. WHEREAS, The U.S. Conference of Mayors has declared that climate change could have severe economic and environmental impacts on U.S. cities in the coming decades; and

3. WHEREAS, the production and burning of conventional fuel such as gasoline, and diesel by motor vehicles, contributes to air pollution, and increased carbon dioxide emissions that have been linked to global climate change; and

4. WHEREAS, the health of the planet, including its oceans, wildlands, rivers, air, and climate, faces increasing threats from our continued dependence on fossil fuels; and

5. WHEREAS, The U.S. Conference of Mayors has previously adopted strong resolutions to encourage clean, renewable energy sources and discourage our dependence on fossil fuels; and

6. WHEREAS, the production of fuels derived from unconventional sources, such as tar sands, liquid coal, and oil shale, emits even greater amounts of global warming pollution than conventional petroleum sources; and

7. WHEREAS, the production of tar sands oil from Canada emits approximately three times the carbon dioxide pollution per barrel as does conventional oil production and significantly damages Canada's Boreal forest ecosystem--the world's largest carbon storehouse; and

8. WHEREAS, the continued production and purchase of these higher-carbon unconventional or synthetic fuels slows the United States' transition to clean, renewable energy sources,

9. NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the U.S. Conference of Mayors supports federal legislation that prohibits government use of unconventional or synthetic fuels, such as tar sands, liquid coal, and oil shale, with lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions greater than fuel produced from conventional oil sources; and

10. BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the U.S. Conference of Mayors encourages the use of life cycle analyses that evaluate the greenhouse gas emissions from the production-including extraction, refining, and transportation-of fuels, including unconventional and synthetic fuels; and

11. BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the U.S. Conference of Mayors supports the creation of clear Federal and State guidelines for tracking the origin of various types of fuel in order to facilitate life cycle analysis; and

12. BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the U.S. Conference of Mayors encourages mayors to track and reduce the lifecycle carbon dioxide emissions from their municipal vehicles by preventing or discontinuing the purchase of higher-carbon unconventional or synthetic fuels for these vehicles.


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