Group Aims to Boost Image of Alberta's Oil Sands
Matthew C. Nisbet, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Communication Studies, Public Policy, and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University. Nisbet studies the role of communication and advocacy in policymaking and public affairs, focusing on debates over over climate change, energy, and sustainability. Among awards and recognition, Nisbet has been a Visiting Shorenstein Fellow on Press, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, a Health Policy Investigator at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and a Google Science Communication Fellow. In 2011, the editors at the journal Nature recommended Nisbet's research as “essential reading for anyone with a passing interest in the climate change debate,” and the New Republic highlighted his work as a “fascinating dissection of the shortcomings of climate activism."
From Canada's The National Post:
Faced with an unflattering image as a global environmental disaster area, the oil sands sector is stepping up its offensive to counteract critics. The sector has re-branded the Oil Sands Developers Group, a Fort McMurraybased coalition of 28 companies developing the business, and put forward its president, Don Thompson, to get out the message that reality on the ground is different from that portrayed by green groups and others who want development stopped...
...Negative perceptions of the oil sands as a big engine of global warming have resulted in a series of U. S. policies to discourage their use. That, too, has been blown out of proportion, Mr. Thompson said. The oil sands account for 4% of Canada's greenhouse gas emissions, while Canada's emissions are 2% of the world's total. "We have not been communicating enough with our key public," he acknowledged. "That is something that we want to change. We want to reengage and understand all the issues that people have with the oil sands and we want to make changes where they are required to ensure we have dealt with issues."
According to the article, main points of emphasis in the campaign will include:
The air quality in Fort McMurray is as good as anywhere in Alberta - Oil sands companies employ 1,500 aboriginals and have awarded aboriginal enterprises $2-billion in contracts - The oil sands account for only 4% of Canada's greenhouse gas emissions - Oil sands mining operations affect 0.01% of the boreal forest - Projects to improve roads and bridges worth $600-million are under way right now in Fort McMurray - Two new subdivisions, each with the potential to house 20,000 people, are under construction.
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