The Athabasca Tar Sands controversy is about three key things - energy, carbon emissions and water usage and contamination. Oddly enough those three are the very "global dilemmas" identified as needing urgent government action by the heads of the national science academies of 15 countries, including the UK, the US, China, Germany, Russia and India.
"On water and energy, the scientists recommended that governments should look at both resources as being interlinked. They said the efficient use of these resources would be key, and recommended developing ways of managing demand for them, as well as investing in scientific research on energy efficiency and the sustainable use of water.
"They also recommended that governments should make key data on energy and water freely available, and that the indirect costs associated with energy – which could include the relationship between greenhouse gases and climate change – and the costs of the degradation of water supplies should be accounted for . These costs should also be included in the development of policy.
"Natural disasters have been taking an increasing toll in recent years – last year's economic losses owing to natural disasters were the highest ever.
"In order to mitigate these risks, the scientists recommended that governments should undertake systematic assessments of disaster risks, and conduct research to improve our understanding of the underlying causes of such disasters."
Hmm, that all sounds entirely sensible I guess, unless you're a Petro-Pol digging in, waiting for The Rapture.