“Exploitation of tar sands would make it implausible to stabilize climate and avoid disastrous global climate impacts” … “Phase out of emissions from coal is itself an enormous challenge. However, if the tar sands are thrown into the mix, it is essentially game over.”
Alberta, Canada’s Athabasca oil / tar sands ‘development’ (devastation) is the largest, most destructive, single industrial, capital investment and energy project on Earth.
Tar sands exploitation targets a total area the size of Florida (or country of England) and decimates huge expanses of boreal forest into toxic wasteland in violation of the traditional land and water rights of Indigenous peoples and other frontline communities who suffer and die from direct threats to their health and livelihood.
The insane, resource intensive and rapacious extraction process causes 3 to 4.5 times more global heat forcing emissions (an incredible 36 million tons per day, equivalent to 1.3 million cars) than conventional oil and requires 2 to 5 barrels of fresh water — a soon-to-be-scarce resource in a climate extreme-threatened world — to make just ONE BARREL of oil. (2011 production rate: 2.7 million barrels per day.)
The tar sands are the largest source of projected new greenhouse gas pollution in Canada and a rapacious accelerator of the already deadly impacts of climate ‘change’ (breakdown, disruption, destabilization).
The clear-cut decimation of one of the largest remaining boreal forest ecosystems and global carbon sinks (storehouses) in order to access and steam-force out the 10-12% of bitumen deep in the sand and clay below with massive amounts of fresh water powered by natural gas (in 2007, 1 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day) is comparable in approach to a heroin user’s demented sense of reason and self-destructive addiction.
Most of the production is exported to the U.S. and this addict/dealer ‘arrangement’ is the primary reason why the current Canadian government is a major obstructer at international climate negotiations and a shameful embarrassment to our nation.
Perhaps worst of all, investment into projects like the tar sands are massive obstacles that delay humanity’s one-time chance to initiate emergency global investment in, and rapid transformation to, a clean, survivable, zero-carbon world before imminent and irreversible climate tipping points are soon passed.
And while all the big oil companies report obscene, record profits and consumers pay ever higher prices, these companies invest a huge portion of their dividends to buy back billions of dollars worth of their own stock in order to drive up its value.
Difficult as it is to communicate, absorb, process, accept, and as shrill / alarmist as it may sound, our shared atmosphere is on an accelerating course to reach a state of potentially unsurvivable, global climate extremes during the lives of today’s children and teens.
No less than the fate of all generations of all peoples and most species hangs in the balance TODAY. And only emergency international action at emergency (world war-time) speed FAST *may be* proportional enough to confront the scale, scope and urgency of what is ALREADY the greatest crime against humanity, most life and most future life EVER. (Compilation: Betrayal of Life.)
The continued operation and exploitation of the Canada’s destructive, energy and emissions intensive, wasteful and toxic to process tar sands encourages the extraction of oil from tar sands and shale oil worldwide. They are key to the oil industry’s ability to maintain their stranglehold on global energy supply and prevent the necessary transition to a cleaner energy world.
Given the limited window of opportunity we now face, courageous, progressive leadership must overcome denial and resist the lures of short-term profit in favour of a rapid and dramatic transformation to as near to a zero-carbon global economy as possible.
To attempt to prevent the worst perils of climate breakdown, disruption, destabilization, we must change course. We must shut down Canada’s tar sands.
- Globe and Mail – Greenpeace Tar Sands Campaigner, Mike Hudema
- Greenpeace – World’s Dirtiest Oil: Stop The Tar Sands
- Greenpeace – Activists Interrupt Ed Stelmach Fundraising Dinner
- ecoSanity.org Protest – Alberta Tar Sands: Deadly Tar Sands
Articles/Blogs: Canada’s Oil/Tar Sands in Alberta
- Post – Kock brothers the largest land owners of Canada’s tar sands, Ari Phillips, CP
- Post – Scientists find 7,300-mile mercury contamination ‘bullseye’ around Canadian tar sands, Emily Atkin, Climate Progress
- Article – Stand together against the tar sands scourge, R. Redford, Globe and Mail
- Article/graphic – Tar sands CEO convicted of ecocide in prestigious UK test trial. Is Stephen Harper next? Barry Saxifradge, Vancouver Observer
- Article – Part 1 – Oil sands: Canada’s 10 (1-6) ethical challenges, A. Nikiforuk, Tyee
- Article – Part 2 – 2 more ethical challenges to Canada’s oil sands, A. Nikiforuk, Tyee
- Article – Part 3 – China and 2 more ethical challenges to oil sands, A. Nikiforuk, Tyee
- Post – Open letter to Oprah Winfrey on ‘Ethical Oil’ ads, E. Pullman, DeSmog Blog
- Article – Harper sleepwalking toward 2020 climate targets, Toronto Star
- Post – To hit climate target, Canada would have to work 10 x harder, Pembina
- Post – A challenge to Peter Kent from the Tar Sands, K. Stewart, Gpeace Canada
- Article – Cdn gov’t accused of ‘unprecedented’ tar sands lobbying, The Guardian
- Article – Keep Alberta’s oil in the ground, Bill McKibben, Globe and Mail
- Article – If Brazil has to guard its rainforest, why does Canada/U.S. get to burn its tar sands? Bill McKibben, Huffpost
- Article – Canada hiding its carbon emissions growth amidst rapid tar sands boom, T. J. Scolnick, DeSmog Blog
- Article – Canada spurns Kyoto in favour of tar sands, Stephen Leahy, IPS
- Keep Europe out of the tar sands, IEN
- Canada hides 20% annual tar sands pollution increase from UN, DeSmog Blog
- Canada’s crude politics on oil sands, Martin Lukacs, The Guardian
- Letters – Collected letters from Canadian citizens to help new envir(oil)ment criminal, Peter Kent, understand ethics and tar sands, Environmental Defence
- Article – What those who killed the tar sands pollution report don’t want you to know, Andrew Nikiforuk, The Tyee
- Article – The fallacy of “ethical oil”, Andrew Nikiforuk, The Tyee
- Suzuki – Will take more than rebranding to make tar sands oil “ethical”, DSF
- Article – Does Peter Kent even care about emissions? J. Simpson, Globe and Mail
Articles/Blogs: Alberta to Texas Keystone XL pipeline, Climate & Environmental Crimeline
- Post – Puncturing the pipeline, Bill McKibben, TomDispatch
- Statement – Big news: We won. You won. Bill McKibben, for TarSandsAction
- Article – Stop the tar sands destruction, Polly Higgins, The Guardian
- Article/Pics – 12,000 tar sands protesters surround White House, Treehugger
- Article – Groups sue to block Keystone XL pipeline construction, Huffington Post
- Graphic – Keystone XL Pipeline corruption investigation, Friends of the Earth
- Article – Keystone Pipeline revolt: Mass arrests just the beginning, B. McKibben, RS
- Post – “Constant and disastrously” leaking U.S. pipelines are the mess in the middle of the Keystone XL debate, Joe Romm re: Bill McKibben, Climate Progress
- U.S. awash in oil and lies, report charges, Stephen Leahy, IPS via Truthout
- Overview & Report – Exporting energy security: Keystone XL Pipeline exposed! Steve Kretzmann, PriceofOil.com
- Post – Pipelines 101, Ben Jervey, DeSmog Blog
- Post – As America’s ‘last best river’ suffers through Exxon spill, Experts warn of risks from Kyestone XL pipeline, Climate Progress
- Article – Path appears clear for oil pipeline from Canada, N. Banerjee, LA Times
- Article – Rupture in planned U.S. pipeline (Keystone XL) could release 7 million gallons of oil, chances of spills significantly underestimated, S. Goldenberg, Guardian
- Hansen slams Keystone XL Canada-U.S. pipeline: “Exploitation of tar sands would make it implausible to stabilize climate / avoid disastrous climate impacts”, CP
- Fact sheet – Keystone XL Pipeline, NRDC
- Collected – Keystone XL Pipeline, Friends of the Earth
- Collected – Keystone XL Pipeline, NWF
- Collected – Keystone XL Pipeline posts, DeSmog Blog
- Website – TarSandsAction.org
- Photo essay – Oil on Lubicon land, Greenpeace Canada
- Article/photos/video – The Canadian Oil Boom, National Geographic
- Aerial photos – Shifting Sands, Globe and Mail
- Map – Shifting Sands, Globe and Mail
- Mining Process – Shifting Sands, Globe and Mail
- Scar photo – Tar sands, A picture is worth…, Treehugger.com
- Website – TarSandsAction.org
- Website – DirtyOilSands.org
- Website – Pembina Institute, OilSandsWatch.org
- Website – Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) – Tar Sands
- Website – Greenpeace – Stop The Tar Sands
- Website – RAN.org – Tar Sands
- Website – 350.org – Tar Sands
- Campaign – Climate Action Network Canada – End fossil fuel tax breaks
- Website – Polaris Institute – TarSandsWatch.org
- Website – Friends of the Earth – Tar Sands
- Website – NRDC – Tar sands
- Website – Council of Canadians, Tar Sands
- Special Issue – Tar Sands, The Dominion
- Website – Treehugger, Facts About the Canadian Tar Sands
- Collected – Tar sands posts, The War Over Tar Sands, TheTyee.ca
- Collected – Tar sands posts, DeSmog Blog
- Special Series – Shifting Sands, Globe and Mail
- Wikipedia – Athabasca tar sands
- Wikipedia – Shale oil
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