According to something I read on the internet earlier in the week Bill McKibben has inside information that President Obama is going to give the XL pipeline the go ahead. If this the case then this is a highly regressive step. Not just for the people who have to live along the pipeline and will have to put up for it, not just for the worlds climate when the tarsands take so much natural gas to produce small amounts of oil in return, but also for false sense of energy security it produces.
With an energy return of 1:3 the tarsands provide an insufficient return on the energy invested to run an industrial civilisation. 1:6 is said to be the minimum, but even then this just allows for basic survival and not any kind of health service etc. I would be very surprised if pumping this oil a couple of thousand miles then shipping it somewhere beyond that doesn’t reduce it to unity (or just above). This makes the whole scheme a complete nonsense and actually means we are depleting higher grade energy faster.