"Ethical Oil" Ad Campaign is Complete and Utter Bull$#!t (Video)

This ad almost made me throw up in my mouth. It did make me yell aloud at my computer screen in disgust. Here's why: It's complete and utter bullshit. It's the kind of bullshit that is so excruciatingly and self-evidently bullshit that it extracts a primal reaction from the depths of your animal soul. The ad is championing the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline that would carry bitumen from Alberta, Canada to refineries along the Gulf Coast. Environmentalists, concerned citizens, farmers, climate scientists, and activists are all against it, and vocally so -- over 1,200 people were arrested at the White House protesting the pipeline. So, oil industry interests are running a series of ads to 'enhance public perception'.

And Mat already did a post highlighting the absurdity of any 'Ethical Oil' campaign at all -- I loved his evaluation of the logic that we should prefer oil from democratic Canada instead of autocratic Saudi Arabia: "You might as well advocate crystal meth over heroin because that meth comes from a lab just down the road while the opium poppies that will be processed into heroin come from Afghanistan." Point being, there's really no such thing as ethical oil at all.

But, for the sake of argument, let's say there is. Let's say that purchasing oil from Canada instead of Saudi Arabia really would mean supporting democracy instead of a regime that treats women like shit. We'd be helping Saudi women -- you pinko environmentalist liberals do care about women, don't you? -- who can't even drive, they're so oppressed. So maybe sending cash the way of Canada's liberal democracy would be the better moral choice, after all, hm?

Hardly. If you believe for a second that our imports of Saudi oil would slow after the tar sands stuff started flowing, you're sorely mistaken. First of all, reports indicate that much of the oil imported from Canada and refined in Texas wouldn't even be used domestically --it is liable to flow right on out to the global oil market, exported to China, Europe, etc., as it is to stay in North America. The notion that there's an either/or dichotomy is utter bullshit--if anything, it will simply be more Saudi and Canadian oil feeding automobiles and manufacturing plants around the world.

Furthermore, guess which oil company has half ownership of one of the two refineries that the tar sands oil will be headed for? Why, Aramco, of course -- Saudi Arabia's state-owned oil company! So not only is the idea that we'd be importing less oil from scary Middle Eastern regimes as a result of the pipeline 100% rubbish, it may actually be the case that those regimes profit off the pipeline. As in, that fear-mongering jingoistic TV ad up there will actually help line the pockets of the nation it's trying to make you afraid of.

And then comes the best part: the ad asks you to donate to the 'Ethical Oil' campaign, as if it's some kind of nonprofit crusade. I truly feel sorry for anyone who actually does so. It's a special kind of idiot, after all, that donates his money to the most profitable companies in the world -- right after they've lied to his face.

For more on the rise of the concept of 'ethical oil', see Lloyd's good posts on the topic.

Join me in the good green fight. Follow me on Twitter, and check out The Utopianist.
More on Tar Sands Oil Pipeline
Ralph Nader: Tar Sands Pipeline Would Usher in "Corporate Dictatorship"
1252 Peaceful Protesters Arrested Opposing Tar Sands Pipeline at White House

Tags: Canada | Oil | United States

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