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The tar sands and climate change

Alberta’s tar sands produce some of the world’s dirtiest oil - 3-4 times as much greenhouse gas emissions per barrel as the production of regular crude oil.

Thanks to the rapidly rising emissions from the tar sands, upstream oil and gas is now the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada. The tar sands alone spew out more CO2 than all the cars in the country combined.

Largest dirty energy expansion

The tar sands also represent a global threat. According to research by Ecofys, commissioned by Greenpeace International, Canada’s tar sands ranked fifth of the 14th largest carbon intensive projects in the world.

Pipelines map 2014


Tailings Ponds at the Alberta Tar Sands

Landlocked in northern Alberta, the tar sands needs access to tidewater via pipelines to allow further expansion and to reach markets in Asia, Europe, USA, etc.. Railway and truck capacity is far too limited to replace pipelines.

Former UN Climate chief Christiana Figueres summarized the work of the scientists on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change when she said, “three quarters of the (world’s) fossil fuel reserves need to stay in the ground” in order to have a good chance to stabilize the planet’s climate. That means many tar sands projects can simply never be built if humanity is to have a good chance of avoiding catastrophe and Canada is to do its part to address the growing climate crisis.

 

 

 

 

Not your average oil

Spills will happen – it’s just a matter of when and where. Alberta already averages more than one spill per day. The tar sands produce a heavy form of crude oil that has to be diluted with toxic chemicals, heated and pressurized in order to flow. When a tar sands pipeline spills, the toxic chemicals threaten human health and the spill is nearly impossible to clean up because unlike conventional oil, bitumen sinks in water. Enbridge has spent more than one billion dollars trying to clean up its 2010 tar sands spill in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Toxic tar sands oil remains in the environment.

A dead, oil-soaked muskrat lies next to the Kalamzoo River

 

When diluted tar sands oil spills into water, the condensate evaporates, creating a toxic, carcinogenic cloud. Most of the heavy bitumen remains and can sink, coating the bottom of the lake or river with thick goo, making it much more difficult to clean up than a conventional oil spill. 

 

The latest updates

 

Whether by land or by sea resistance to tar sands pipeline continues to grow.

Blog entry by Mike Hudema | October 21, 2017

As three tar sands pipelines (Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain, Enbridge Line 3, and TransCanada Keystone XL) try to press forward the resistance to them is rising up, growing and taking action by land and by sea. This week as...

World’s 8th largest banks says it won’t finance tar sands pipelines

Blog entry by Keith Stewart | October 16, 2017

There was some great news out of France this week, as BNP Paribas, the largest bank in France and 8th largest in the world, publicly stated that it will cut ties with tar sands pipelines and the companies behind them. ...

The Courts Might Be the Final Nail In Kinder Morgan's Coffin

Blog entry by Mike Hudema | October 13, 2017

For the last two weeks, I’ve been watching the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain court hearings .  I’ve listened as six First Nations, two municipal governments, one provincial government and a few environmental organizations put...

VICTORY! People Power Just Stopped Another Pipeline. Bye-bye Energy East!

Blog entry by Mike Hudema | October 5, 2017

Wow, what incredible news to wake up too.   After years of campaigning, demonstrations, and pressure led by First Nations, workers, and environmentalists TransCanada has announced they are pulling the plug on the...

The fight against pipelines is a fight for water: the Kinder Morgan trial

Blog entry by Mike Hudema | October 4, 2017

For many, this fight is about water. Water, that precious resource, that flows across the land just as it flows through us. We are born in it and without it we perish. When you take a moment to think about all of your connections...

The battle to stop the Kinder Morgan heads to the courts

Blog entry by Mike Hudema | October 3, 2017

For the next two weeks the battle to stop Kinder Morgan will be in the courts . Six First Nations, the City of Vancouver, the City of Burnaby, the Province of British Columbia and several environmental organizations will take to...

Time For Banks To Get On The Right Side Of History: Mazaska Talks

Blog entry by Mike Hudema | September 28, 2017

“On October 23rd, ninety-two of the world's largest banks will meet in São Paolo, Brazil to discuss policies on the climate and Indigenous People's rights to  Free, Prior, and Informed Consent   (FPIC). These banks include Dakota...

#NotPipelines Action Toolkit

Publication | September 22, 2017 at 13:30

This toolkit contains five actions you can take in solidarity with Indigenous Land Defenders who are rising up to confront toxic tar sands pipelines.

Calgary oil patch not laughing at climate lawsuits anymore

Blog entry by Keith Stewart | September 22, 2017

Three years ago, oil industry spokespeople scoffed when Greenpeace International sent letters to oil companies and their insurers that asked what they would do if oil companies were sued over their history of funding climate...

Indigenous Rights: How long will it take for Trudeau to act?

Blog entry by Joanna Kerr | September 13, 2017

Today marks the 10th anniversary of when the United Nations General Assembly adopted the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) — a huge step in setting an international standard towards respecting Indigenous...

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