46 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why Canadian oil is better from a liberal point of view
I'm a liberal and someone who cares greatly about the environment. I am aware however that a lot of causes that are supposed to be helpful for the environment such as recycling are not as beneficial as we would perceive and you can't believe what you hear from biased groups such as Greenpeace and co.
Ethical Oil is Ezra's take on why Alberta's Oil sands are...
Published on Sept. 16 2010 by Michael Suszek
23 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Important, could have been so much better
To begin with, I'd like to acknowledge that Levant's book is full of interesting and useful information about the social, economic, and political world of oil. He makes some strong arguments that Alberta's oilsands aren't nearly the villain that many make them out to be. But he weaves his research together with a logic that is at times convoluted and sometimes seems to...
Published on April 13 2011 by MM
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7 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Attempting to re-label DIRTY OIL as "ethical oil",
This review is from: Ethical Oil: The Case for Canada's Oil Sands (Paperback)
"[W]hat's important for us to remember is that, despite the pipe dreams of environmentalists, our carbon-based economy isn't going away...So we're stuck with oil for a long time, whether we like it or not. The only question that remains is: if we have to produce oil, and we have to buy oil--and we absolutely must do both--whose oil should we do our best to support? Who can we trust to do it the most morally? "
The above extract comes from the end of this very opinionated book by Ezra Levant. Several red flags went up after I read it.
According to this books inside back flap, Levant is a "lawyer, journalist, and political activist." Actually, Levant has a Commerce degree. After obtaining this, it was natural for him to get his law degree. (The law firm I deal with has the name "Dewey, Cheetem, and Howe.")
However, Levant has no degree or diploma in journalism. Thus, he is not a journalist. At best, he can be called a "media personality."
Also, we're not told that Levant was a tobacco industry lobbyist. Yes, he was one of those intelligent individuals who was paid to tell the public (which includes children) that smoking cigarettes causes no harm.
When I first saw the title of this book, "Ethical Oil," I assumed that the oil ITSELF (specifically, Canada's tar sands oil located in the Canadian province of Alberta) could be made so as to become "ethical" (that is, non-polluting, not affecting human health, and greenhouse-gas free). Sadly, this is not the case as this book is mainly concerned with where the oil comes from (as the above extract attests).
For Levant's argument to work, he must make the case that tar sands oil and its energy-intensive (thus expensive) extraction from the Earth is not an environmental threat. This he attempts to do--in spades. At the same time, he expounds on the merits of tar sand oil and the facilities that extract this oil.
Levant, among other things, attacks Greenpeace, environmentalists , environmental or "green" jobs, and individual people (such as a journalist--a REAL journalist). He even attacks the science of climate change or "global warming."
I found that Levant went off-topic many times. For example, he devotes a long chapter to "ethical funds." Not surprisingly, he discovers that ethical funds are not really that ethical saying that those who run these funds "say one thing, and do another." It's only at the end of this long chapter that he makes the sweeping conclusion that "This is the character of the oil sands' critics." (That is, they say one thing, and do another.) It's as if Levant suddenly remembered he was writing a book on the Canadian oil sands.
I had problems with some of Levant's references. For example, several references refer back to the "Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers."
The fact is, the logic of this book is faulty. Just because a country such as Canada is considered "ethical" (as Levant continually tells the reader) does not mean everything it produces or exports (such as tar sands oil) is ethical.
The science is also troubling. (Being a former tobacco lobbyist and having no scientific credentials, Levant doesn't really care about the science.) It shows that Alberta tar sands contribute to about 5 percent of Canada's greenhouse emissions and are Canada's fastest growing source of emissions. As of early 2011, they had disturbed a large area of boreal forest with little or no chance of true reclamation, using enormous amounts of water and polluting the surrounding air and water.
In the summer of 2010, an independent, peer-reviewed scientific study showed that toxic by-products from the tar sands extraction industry are poisoning a nearby river, putting downstream Aboriginal communities and the fish they consume at significant risk. Health studies show that these communities already have elevated rates of rare cancers associated with exposure to such toxins.
If Canada sells tar sands oil to countries with poor human-rights records, like China, does that effect the oil's "ethical" nature? And just how "ethical" are the companies operating in the tar sands? For example Exxon Mobile, well-known sponsor of climate-change disinformation campaigns or BP, responsible for the massive oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. There's also the effect of greenhouse gas emissions on our children and grandchildren--considered by many to be an intergenerational crime.
No matter what Levant says, oil has never been about "ethics." It's always been about (surprise, surprise) money (something Levant knows a lot about). Those like Levant who argue the case for "ethical oil" should work to ensure that our energy needs are met in a truly ethical way, now and into the future.
Finally, why hasn't this book an index? A wealth of information is presented but there's no easy access to it.
In conclusion, this book by former tobacco industry lobbyist Ezra Levant is an opinion-piece. It attempts to re-brand the dirty oil found in Canada's tar sands as "ethical oil."
(first published 2010; introduction; 12 chapters; conclusion; main narrative 235 pages; acknowledgements; sources)
<<Stephen Pletko, London, Ontario, Canada>>
8 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oil Sands: The Fair Trade Fuel,
It's practically a given that if the Canadian oil sands are mentioned by the mainstream media, they are cast in a negative light. The oil sands seem to have been voted by the unofficial climate change cartel to the position of official environmental whipping boy and designated carbon demon. And why not? They're Canadian. They won't fight back, unlike American or Chinese coal generation or Californian heavy oil (which is more carbon intensive than Alberta heavy oil), or any number of other global energy sources who are conveniently avoided by the international environmental lobby groups. When you pick on the Canadian oil sands you get a pretty easy time of it. You get governments who care what the people think and who care about their international image, you get companies who care what the market and public thinks and who are working at constant improvement, and you get to pick on a target who won't strike back in a way that might cause real personal harm to its detractors (unlike what often happens when you challenge Hugo Chavez's Venezuela, or Nigeria, or the Sudan, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Burma, or China).
What Ezra Levant has done with his new book is to stand up and champion the case for the Canadian oil sands as a responsible and ethical global source of energy which is being developed through world-leading standards. Where national and provincial leaders have been slow or embarrassed to stand up and defend the oil sands against its detractors, Levant has come through with facts, courage and more than a little wit. By not accepting the terms that the radical environmental lobby seeks to frame the debate with, Levant shows that the common picture of the oil sands painted by those who oppose them is the equivalent of a portrait which ignores the nose, eyes, mouth and ears of the subject and renders only a chin-wart, some stray nose hairs and a chipped tooth. Levant compares Canada's oil sands with all other major sources of world oil production and export and shows how the oil sands not only hold their own but by nearly any standard of fair and ethical judgment, they outperform their competitors by ethical gallons per mile.
Levant frames the oil sands debate in proper terms, comparing it with other big-scale oil producing nations, rather than to future carbon-neutral magic pixy-dust power as the environmental lobby would have us do. He is not disparaging alternative energy but pointing out the obvious fact that it will be a long time before all non-petroleum based energy sources combined can come close to producing a tenth of the energy by consumer volume that oil does, much less replacing it, in an ever-growing global energy market. Until that time, Levant argues that the oil sands are a far more ethical source of oil than nearly all the other major producers/exporters in the world. Not only does the oil sands carbon footprint measure up to the other world sources of oil on a wells-to-wheels comparison, in most cases they outperform. For example, enviros tout the oil in the middle east claiming it's as simple to produce as sticking a straw in the sand and letting the oil flow forth. They talk about how such oil is so much cheaper to produce, both from an economic and an environmental standpoint. Levant delivers a much needed accounting audit when he factors in the cost the U.S. Navy spending $50 billion per year patrolling the Persian Gulf to keep it safe for American-bound tanker traffic, a measure which adds a US$54/barrel tax-payer subsidy to middle east oil, not to mention the carbon foot print of the tankers and the US naval fleet and all the natural gas the OPEC nations flare instead of using (as the oil sands does). And Levant compares a few dead ducks in oil sands tailing ponds to hundreds of thousands of people killed by their own governments in oil exporting nations like the Sudan, where the oil produced during the Darfur atrocities was costing 6.5 ml of murdered human blood per barrel and the same money the Sudanese government brought in through oil sales it used to arm itself and fund its program of genocide.
Countering such organizations as Greenpeace (which in so many ways is neither green, nor peaceful...talk amongst yourselves), Levant also effectively argues that the oil sands do indeed measure up to or out perform other major oil exporting nations of the world by environmental stewardship standards, but unlike anti-oil sanders, he is not satisfied to leave the debate there. Along with sustainability - what is the environmental impact of the oil sands compared with other jurisdictions and what is being done to improve their respective environmental performance? - Levant broadens the terms of the debate by comparing the oil sands with other oil exporters' performance in other areas of ethical measure such as: justice - is there access by the people of the producing nation to affordable energy (not just available to the very rich or powerful)?; peace - do the oil sands either directly or indirectly promote peace or violence and how do they compare to other petroleum producing jurisdictions?; and commitment to democracy - to what degree are the citizens of the nation and the regions most impacted involved in making decisions about their energy future and the future of development? When these other common sense ethical gauges are brought into the debate, the oil sands rise head and shoulders above its true global market oil exporting competitors.
Levant also effectively debunks some of the "silver bullet" arguments frequently used against the oil sands. By doing a little bit of journalism (something few media detractors seem capable of anymore), Levant tackles such urban myths as the high rates of cancer among aboriginal peoples living down stream of the oil sands, the mutant fish that grew a second jaw, or the ever popular image of the oil sands mines being the size of the state of Florida or the country of England, all of which are blatantly and demonstrably false. Levant merely happens to be willing to dig further than most to get to the bottom of these accusations and then when they prove false, he doesn't just mention it in passing during polite cocktail conversation but he climbs on top of the bar, kicks the drinks out of peoples hands and yells to the room that somebody has been telling some lies and its time to fess up.
Levant's polemics get ranty in a few places but no one can really blame him when he's doing the print equivalent of paddling up a waterfall of negative media and enviroganda, while people are lobbing large rocks at him from the banks. But even when his voice is the edgiest (like when he is exposing the shameless hypocrisy of so-called ethical investment funds who pronounce publicly their opposition to the oil sands all the while investing heavily in them because they make healthy returns), he is not shrill and he never abandons fact and simply resorts to name calling and sloganeering which is a common practice of the anti-oil sands lobby, whose strategy often seems to be "argument weak, yell here". Levant has single-handedly tarred and feathered those who vilify the oil sands while convenently ignoring or even defending nations whose oil production is infinitely worse by any standard of measure.
Levant isn't happy to simply rebuff the attacks on the oil sands. He proposes a positive step to make our petroleum purchasing more ethical. Why don't we implement a system whereby all the fuel and petroleum products sold in North America are labelled by their country of origin so that consumers can know at the pumps which dictatorship, which genocide-inciting country or which extremist Islamic regime they are supporting. Levant believes if this were the case, a vast majority of American consumers would be buying oil sands oil from their biggest trade partner and closest ally, the progressive democracy and global boy scout that is Canada.
This book does not seek to paint the oil sands as perfection incarnate but rather as the best large-scale oil energy option for energy consumers who are honestly concerned about supporting ethical operators and nations in their energy choices. It avoids highly technical language, making it accessible to a broad readership, and it is punchy enough that it will keep those readers entertained. There is a lot of common sense and old fashioned reason in this book which, in my opinion, deserves a large audience.
[If you have not read this book but have read this or another positive review, or watched a "documentary" which "exposes" the oil sands, and are posting a "this-book-is-a-big-lie" review to try to save some ducks and skewer some capitalist, industrialist pigs, why don't you try reading this book and thinking for yourself for a change before you attack that which you do not know. Go on, read it, find where Levant's facts are wrong. I dare you.]
4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Factual, ethical and political myth-busting galore,
Many other reviewers have outlined the merits of this book. I won't replicate their comments.
I was not one of the virulent opponents of the oil sands project before reading the book, thinking of it as a relatively minor, though necessary, evil. In the trade-off between securing energy self-sufficiency and environmental hazard, I already felt the choice was a no-brainer. This book was revelatory in just how easy this choice should be for the thinking person.
Levant is criticized by a number of reviewers for (arguably) taking a detour to address the fallacies and foibles of the most vocal opponents of the oil sands. Granted, the (flawed) integrity of their arguments is not, by itself, an argument for the merits of the oil sands per se, but revealing the flaws in the logic and content of all the scaremongering and sanctimonious caterwauling engaged in by "players" like the ethical investment movement, is part and parcel of dispersing the fog of myth that has grown up around this issue.
For me, the most valuable aspect of this book was the "as opposed to what?" aspect Levant introduces into the discussion. Would you REALLY 'prefer' your oil to originate in Sudan, Nigeria, Venezuela, Russia and Saudi Arabia, those bastions of human rights, social justice and environmental responsibility? His analysis along these lines was an eye-opener for me.
The book puts to rest an enormous mythology that has seemingly become accepted orthodoxy about the oil sands. It's a valuable, sobering and reassuring read. You owe it to yourself to check it out before succumbing to all the reflexive nonsense being peddled by the "STOP (EVERYTHING)!" crowd.
4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A logical eye-opener,
I bought this book on a recommendation from a friend and I couldn't put it down. I never really had an opinion one way or the other on the Alberta oil sands, despite all the negative pontificating from all the David Suzukis, Hollywood bimboes and environmental groups. This is a well-researched book that makes you stop and think where so much of your oil is coming from: human-rights abusing, terrorist-sponsoring, closed dictatorships, all of which would never allow a fraction of the monitoring, regulations and scrutiny that the oil sands go through. The oil sands have been the victim of a lot of blantant lies and this book helps clear that up.
4 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So Who is Really Behind the Anti-Oilsands Movement: A Critical and Important Book,
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
After reading this book and its very logical examination of the Oilsands issue and listening to Dr. Patrick Moore (co-founder of GreenPeace)come out in favour of the Oilsands, I am left with this question:
Who is really funding and behind the anti-Oilsands movement?
This book is a critical and important examination of the Oilsands and how important they are to Canada and North America - as a strategic asset and a means to power our economony and create jobs for thousands. Using pure logic and the rational extension of the impact of supporting Conflict Oil over Ethical Oil, Levant nails the supporters of Conflict Oil for what they are - supporters of tyranny.
It simply boils down this this: do you support Blood Oil, or do you support Ethical Oil? Until there is a viable energy alternative, this is the choice we all make.
After the Saudi Arabia "lawfare" intimidation of threatened lawsuits on Canadian broadcasters for running Ethical Oil ads, it is obvious that there is a lot more going on behind the scenes than most people are aware of. And for many who are against Ethical Oil, they have fallen for a slick PR campaign funded by a hidden, but self-serving agenda that has nothing to do with green issues.
Read this book, it will make you think.
15 of 29 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Inadequate,
I work in Oil and Gas (O&G) financing and am often stupefied by the senseless opposition to the O&G industry - be it the politics, profit or technology. However, Levant is finding enemies of the oil-sands behind every bush. Not everyone who opposes does it out of ignorance or spite - some have very valid concerns. Inherently, exploration for O&G is a disruptive process. Because of the constructive criticism by concerned parties, oil-sands and other non-conventional oil producers have gained technological advances, production process efficiency and eco-friendliness. Oil-sands producers can actually do without a shrill voice such as Levant's, they are doing fine by objectively responding to concerns.
Especially troubling is his complete disdain for different points of view or belief systems. He finds it "pretty bizarre" that Pembina Foundation originated with the Gaia Foundation "..as in Gaia, the pagan earth goddess that environmentalists usually call Mother Earth." Is this a book to dispel the misinformation on oilsands, or is it to establish the supremacy of one kind of world and religious view?
Then again, it is not completely unexpected from a writer who sees it fit using the fact on his book-jacket that he was charged by Alberta provincial government for poking in the eye of one religious group. If Levant cannot find any better distinction from his writing career to establish his credibility, any of his efforts to promote a righteous cause may turn out to be silly.
4 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Important Book,
This book is a real eye-opener. Even if you don't agree with the conclusions, the information presented in the book is important for Canadians to be aware of. Some have ridiculed the notion of 'Ethical Oil' by focusing specifically on environmental issues and also on the Canadian context. Levant challenges these people to think somewhat more broadly (world context) and also to think in practical terms -- that dependence on oil is not going away any time soon regardless of what happens in Canada's oil patch. Similarly, Canada's policies regarding 'climate change' will have no impact on global warming, given our very minor contribution of CO2. Levant's statistics make this clear. My sense is that Levant's challengers are left spouting platitudes, rather than being able to effectively counter his arguments.
Some important questions addressed by Levant include the question of exactly how much pollution is being created by the oil sands operations (very little according to Levant) and how transparent is the environmental movement in its attacks on the oil sands? There is lots to learn about the agenda, practices and funding sources of 'Big Environment' groups like Greenpeace and the various "ethical" investment funds. I have recently (and yet again) seen commentary suggesting that there is an increased incidence of cancer linked to the oil sands, but this situation is debunked by Levant, complete with footnotes backing up his case.
Many anti-oil-sands lobby groups have not bothered to update their talking points, and Levant brings us up to date. He also informs us of many new developments aimed directly at increasing the environmental aspects of oil sands development. And we learn about the overwhelming influence of the Saudi lobby in the States, and the degree to which Canadian oil has taken away from the Saudi's market share in the states. There clearly are a lot of agendas in play.
Levant is careful to document all of his claims. He may (or may not) be comprehensive in addressing the issues that we need to think about as he makes the case for 'ethical oil', but his book is a major contribution to the public understanding of the issue. Any thinking person should read the book before drawing any conclusions about what needs to be done regarding development of the oil sands.
5 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ethical Oil,
Very probably one of the best books ever written about Alberta's Energy Industry.
Ezra Levant deserves the ORDER OF CANADA.
I say that as this industry has been whiplashed by pseudo-experts and charlatans and fake writers like NIKIFORUK and MARSDEN supported by the CBC in its continuing left wing agenda.
Levants book is a BIG breath of fresh air into this agenda.
Notably the CBC have minimised its impact but fortunately SUNMEDIA has picked it up.
EZRA has focussed on the BEEF of the issue and avoided the propaganda trap that others have fallen into.
THIS IS 5 -STAR STUFF.
Phillip Martin, PhD, MSc.
3 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Persuasive and entertaining: Ezra Levant's take on Canadian Oil Sands,
This review is from: Ethical Oil: The Case for Canada's Oil Sands (Paperback)
Ezra Levant's book, Ethical Oil, certainly deserves the praise and awards it has received to date. It's quite a feat to be able to make such a supposedly dry and technical subject so interesting, entertaining, and often fascinating. The writing style manages to be both precise and factual, yet dynamic and conversational. I learned a tremendous amount from reading this book. Kudos to the author for providing such important information not just to Canadians, but also to the rest of the world.
3 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must Read!,
As he often does, Ezra Levant has hit the ball right out of the park and, in this case, right into the next country. This is a MUST READ for everyone in Canada and the USA as it sheds a whole new light on the oil sands industry, a light that is very well researched (and documented) and very logically and intelligently presented.
He tramples the myths that oil from the oil sands is dirty and bad and illustrates well how the technology has matured and improved over the last few years. And he shows in no uncertain terms the horrific costs to the democratic world if the oil sands were to be shut down.
Please read it then pass it on!
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Ethical Oil: The Case for Canada's Oil Sands by Ezra Levant (Paperback - May 3 2011)
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