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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

 

We just got one step closer to stopping Kinder Morgan

Blog entry by Jesse Firempong & Mike Hudema | August 11, 2017 2 comments

British Columbia’s new government is helping to stop Kinder Morgan from breaking ground on its destructive tar sands pipeline but we need to keep the pressure up. This fight isn’t over yet.     British Columbia’s new...

Nebraskans Are Building Solar Right in Keystone's Path

Blog entry by Mike Hudema | August 10, 2017

"They'll have to go under it, around it or tear it down to get their dirty oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico," Jim Carlson, Nebraskan farmer  As environmentalists we often get criticized as not talking about solutions...

Over 150 First Nations and Tribes Now Stand Opposed to the Expansion of the Tar Sands.

Blog entry by Mike Hudema | August 9, 2017 1 comment

Yesterday, representatives from the Omaha Tribe, Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska, Nez Perce, Choctaw Nation, Ponca Tribe of Nebraska, Ponka Tribe of Oklahoma signed the  Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion. The ...

Another Stacked Deck In The Fight To Stop Keystone XL

Blog entry by Mike Hudema | August 8, 2017

This week I’m in Nebraska attending the Public Service Commission (PSC) hearings on the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. The hearings are being held because the Keystone XL pipeline doesn’t have a legal route through Nebraska. The...

Another Historic Day in the Fight Against Keystone XL

Blog entry by Mike Hudema | August 7, 2017

“The only network bigger then the network of pipelines running across the country is the network of people rising up against them.”   Yesterday I was on the streets of Lincoln, Nebraska with hundreds of pipeline fighters and...

Hey TD: Don't fund tar sands pipelines

Blog entry by Mike Hudema | July 12, 2017

Kinder Morgan plans to start construction on its controversial tar sands pipeline expansion this September. But there’s a plan to stop it. See, the harder it is for tar sands pipelines to get funding, the greater chance we have of...

Watch what oil companies do, not what they say, on the future of the tar sands

Blog entry by Keith Stewart | July 5, 2017

Over the weekend, the Wall Street Journal published a remarkably clear-eyed assessment of what oil companies are doing, and not just saying, about the future of the tar sands. Much of the Canadian coverage of the low oil...

Four Tar Sands Pipelines are Heavily Financed by 25 Key Banks

Blog entry by Tim Donaghy, Greenpeace USA | June 14, 2017 3 comments

Twenty-five banks are the primary sources of credit for the three companies building four pipelines aiming to move Canada’s tar sands to market. Greenpeace is releasing research showing the connections between these banks and the...

Trump abandons the Paris Climate Agreement - How bad is that?

Blog entry by Jennifer Morgan | June 1, 2017

Yes, it’s bad. But the world moves on. Today, US President Trump announced that the US is withdrawing from the Paris Agreement. Time to panic — or not a big deal? We’ve asked Jennifer Morgan — Greenpeace International’s...

My Message to the BC Green Party and NDP

Blog entry by Laura Yates | May 30, 2017 1 comment

Today I scaled the main flagpole at the BC Legislature to deliver a message of celebration and hope to our newly elected officials:   People Power 1 Kinder Morgan 0 Change is coming.     Yesterday, the BC...

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