Thursday, August 05, 2010

Athabasca Emissions Set to Triple by 2020

Our planet's filthiest fossil fuel project, the Athabasca Tar Sands, are poised to get astonishingly worse and all within just one decade.

The Pembina Institute has released a report concluding that Tar Sands greenhouse gas emissions are "out of control."   From The Tyee:

Carbon output more than doubled between 1990 and 2008. And the Calgary-based think tank warns the latest numbers could nearly triple by 2020.

...From 1990 to 2008, total greenhouse gases from the oil sands shot up 121 percent, Pembina concludes.

Industry sources project huge production increases in coming years. Much of that will come from in-situ projects (essentially injecting high pressure steam deep underground).

On average, this method produces 91 kg of CO2 per barrel of oil – compared to 36 kg for mining, Pembina concludes. And that doesn't include emissions from the intensive upgrading process.

More in-situ, combined with growing U.S. demand, means huge spikes in carbon. That creates serious “implications” for Canadian and American attempts to fight climate change, the report says.

Both countries have pledged to reduce carbon emissions 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. Canada risks falling far short of its target, Pembina warns.

If emissions rise as projected under Environment Canada’s business-as-usual scenario,” the report reads, “they will reach 28 per cent above 2005 levels by 2020, with oil sands expansion accounting for nearly half of the projected increase.”

So, with the environmental indifference to the Tar Sands of the Conservatives and the Liberals, Canada is certain to remain a global climate change pariah only on a much higher order.   And, don't forget, carbon emissions are just one part of the environmental catastrophe that is the Athabasca Tar Sands.   Think of all those wonderful new tailing ponds that will be needed.   Think of all the heavy metals and other toxins that will be released into the atmosphere.   Think of all the carcinogens and toxins leaching into the groundwater.   Why it's a good thing Alberta can't find some way to bill Saskatchewan for all that acid rain.   And don't forget about all the freshwater and conventional energy they'll need to keep turning that tar into synthetic oil.

To all my former Liberal brethren, you have to make your current leadership wake up and listen.   This is your Canada as much as Mr. Ignatieff's and it's the only Canada your kids and grandkids will have.  Your leader's embrace of the Tar Sands is wrong-headed and seriously detrimental to our country and our people.  You need to tell Mr. Ignatieff that any Tar Sands policy that puts expansion of Athabasca ahead of environmental remediation is simply unacceptable and that Canada's already modest targets for greenhouse gas emission reductions must be met even if that means not becoming a fossil fuel superpower.   Tell Ignatieff he's got to give it up.


Jennifer Smith said...

I've tried, man - I've tried. Sigh...

The Mound of Sound said...

I think Mr. I's Tar Sands policy makes it difficult for many to support the LPC. As we've seen over the past decade, global heating is upon us. Growing up in Ontario I clearly remember when spring never began before early April but those days are plainly gone.

I suspect that events are going to overtake the Liberal leader if he lasts that long and he'll find that he's positioned himself on the wrong side of this issue too.

There is a great deal that needs doing - today - and no political will in Ottawa to accomplish that.

There are plenty of us who'll be parking our votes with the Greens until we're offered something better by the LPC.

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