Jack Fairweather at PostGlobal

Jack Fairweather

Washington, D.C., USA

Jack Fairweather was the Daily Telegraph's Baghdad and Gulf correspondent for four years, winning the UK's award for war reporting. He is currently based in Washington, D.C. He writes for the Atlantic Monthly, Mother Jones, and Harper's Magazine, and regularly reports from across the Middle East. Close.

Jack Fairweather

Washington, D.C., USA

Jack Fairweather was the Daily Telegraph's Baghdad and Gulf correspondent for four years, winning the UK's award for war reporting. He is currently based in Washington, D.C. He writes for the Atlantic Monthly, Mother Jones, and Harper's Magazine, and regularly reports from across the Middle East. more »

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The Global Economy Archives



November 19, 2007 11:24 AM

Digging Toward Economic Decline

Not many people have heard of the oil sands of Alberta. It's a bleak stretch of pine forest and tundra in northern Canada roughly the size of the UK - but just below the surface are almost double the oil reserves of Saudi Arabia, in the form of tar-like deposits. You will be hearing a lot more about the oil sands because by 2012, 20% of the U.S.'s oil petroleum supply will come from America's friendly neighbor.

The rub, as I discovered on a recent trip, is that it takes almost as much energy to free the oil from the sand as you get out in usable petroleum. So why are we spending billions, and pumping tons more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere?

The simple answer is, we're running out of easily extractable oil, hence the high oil prices, and, in part, the teetering world economy. But rather than formulate a new direction, we're digging ourselves - literally and otherwise - into an ever-deeper hole. The oil sands are a sad symbol of the cycle of the decline we are facing without a sustainable energy policy.

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