Alternate History

Canada (Peak Oil 1996)

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Canada's situation is, on the surface, similar to that of the United States of America. However, there are two major differences. Firstly, it is generally much colder than the U.S. and secondly, it has the Alberta tar sands.


Canada followed the rise of the United States. It started building sprawling suburbs and turning farming into an industry based on machinery and fossil-fuel-based fertilizers and pesticides. Often looked at as a kinder, more liberal version of the U.S., in fact, it had its own problems and controversies, including a growing crime rate, a yearly seal hunt during which seals were punctured and dragged by hooks and skinned alive while still fully conscious (which most other countries, including the U.S. had completely banned), and a Quebec sovereignty movement which eventually led to the Republic of Quebec after Peak Oil (which so far is more like a dictatorship).


Canada accepted the fact that oil had peaked a bit sooner than the United States, but of course, a few years is not enough to completely change an economy, and Canada has arguably more worries for the future than the United States. Like the U.S.'s loss of Oregon, Canada lost Quebec. Sitting on the bituminous (or "tar") sands, Canada figured that its reserves were second only to Saudi Arabia's. Exploitation quickly began, but the nation realized only too late that the tar sands were not a real fix. The amount of energy was incredibly high just to get the tar sands to produce oil-like substances. Thus, the products were extremely expensive, and the Energy Returned On Energy Invested (EROEI) was extremely poor when compared to oil. Extraction required huge amounts of fresh water and natural gas, both of which became more scarce. In the end, the tar sands have not nearly lived up to their hype. They can't even feed Canada's need for fuel...much less the world's. Cutting shipments of natural gas to the U.S., Canada has had enough to heat its homes over the winters so far, but under increasing U.S. pressure and dwindling supplies, the future of Canada doesn't look so bright. When the energy is finally gone, the whole country will turn into a giant freezer for six months of the year.

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