Monday, July 30, 2012

The New York Times - America's Tar Sands Complicity

An  editorial in The New York Times, "Canada's Oil, the World's Carbon" stresses that the climate change impacts of Athabasca bitumen  trafficking must not be ignored.

"...the climate question must be addressed, if only to give a full accounting of the range of consequences of developing the tar sands, an effort in which the United States will be complicit if it allows the pipeline. That includes the effect of destroying 740,000 acres of boreal forest (a vital sink for greenhouse gases); the carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases emitted in extracting the oil from the tar sands (a highly energy-intensive process); and the gases emitted by burning the oil.

The point was reinforced this month when 10 leading climate scientists sent a letter to Hillary Rodham Clinton asking the State Department to consider how helping to open Canada’s tar sands would affect the planet’s climate. “The vast volumes of carbon in the tar sands ensure that they will play an important role in whether or not climate change gets out of hand,” the letter said.
“Understanding the role this large-scale new pipeline will play in that process is clearly crucial.”

We hope, of course, that the State Department is rigorous in addressing all relevant questions: whether America needs this oil now or in the future; how many jobs the pipeline will actually provide. The department will also be asking about the danger of oil spills. But its report will be incomplete if it does not also consider what the oil flowing through the Keystone XL would spill into the skies — both now and in the future.

Eventually, Canadians will have to accept the link between bitumen trafficking and the climate change impacts that will drive genocide and mass killings elsewhere in the world.   Yes, it's Canada's oil, but that also becomes the world's carbon.   We, all of us, have to wear responsibility for exporting the filthiest fossil fuel on the planet.


karen said...

And those of us who understand this, and are working to stop some of this in whatever ways we can are branded radicals and terrorists.

Beijing York said...

Maybe it's time the rest of the world, or at least those countries that recognize the dangers, start boycotting Canadian products. This should apply to all countries that thumb their noses at the threat of global warming. If international law can police nuclear proliferation that can endanger the whole planet, why not police environmental degradation that will impact all of earth?

The Mound of Sound said...

In 21st century Canada it is radical, perhaps even seen as dangerous to accept the link between our energy resource policies and the suffering and turmoil it contributes to in distant parts of the world.

We have to live in a dysfunctional society that chooses to deny cause lest that lead to recognition of effect. I know all sorts of affluent, well-educated Canadians who manage to find the conscience "off" switch when bitumen is mentioned. It's not just asbestos that Canada is unleashing on the world.

Amna said...

i agree with karen ....