Canada's Oilsands Tarred with the "Greenwash" Brush

The UK Advertising Standards Authority ruled that a Shell ad that repeatedly referred to extraction from Canada's oilsands as "sustainable" was "misleading." The advertising regulator noted the "considerable social and environmental impacts" of oilsands development, adding that Shell has not explained how it will manage "carbon emissions from its oilsands projects in order to limit climate change." The World Wildlife Fund filed a complaint accusing Shell of "greenwashing," after the ad appeared in the Financial Times. Shell agreed not to run the ad again. Oilsands development "uses enormous amounts of fresh water and natural gas and produces about three times as much greenhouse gas emissions as conventional oil output." The Canadian province of Alberta, where the oilsands are located, "launched a three-year, $25-million campaign" earlier this year, "to market Alberta and correct what the government insists is misinformation about the oilsands." Calgary Herald business editor Charles Frank opined, "We have to reframe the debate ... if we are to have even the faintest hope of making sure this province's most valuable resource isn't sabotaged by people and organizations who do not have our best interests at heart."