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Canada’s stranded barrels

Without major technology breakthroughs, carbon restrictions will mean a smaller future for the oil sands

After years of being tarred as an environmental laggard Alberta will do something no other major oil-producer has done: cap carbon emissions from its major asset. From 2017, the oil sands will only be allowed to emit 100 megatonnes a year. The policy is meant to prove that the province is finally getting serious about addressing climate change. Oil sands are the largest and fastest-growing source of green-house gas (GHG) emissions in Canada. Part of the pitch, to the industry at least, was that the emission restrictions would allow for continued output expansion by softening opposition from oil sands critics and helping to win approvals for new pipelines to both coasts and the US. The pol

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