International Energy Agency chief economist Fatih Birol defended Canada's oil sands at a U.N. summit this week, saying that coal-fired electricity, over-consumption of oil and inefficient energy practices are the main culprits in global warming. "The oil sands definitely makes a contribution to the increase in [carbon dioxide] emissions. But the difference in getting oil from oil sands when compared to conventional oil, it is such a small contribution that it will be definitely wrong to highlight this as a major source of carbon dioxide emissions worldwide," Birol said.

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