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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

 

In-depth: Canada should care about DAPL company's misbehaviour. Here's why.

Blog entry by Jesse Firempong | June 18, 2018

Some leopards never change their spots. Our colleagues at Greenpeace USA just dug up some hard-hitting evidence showing that Energy Transfer Partners (the company infamous for building the Dakota Access pipeline and quashing ...

You did it! Samsung chooses renewable energy!

Blog entry by Insung Lee, IT Campaigner at Greenpeace East Asia | June 14, 2018

Remember the time we gave Samsung stores a makeover... Protest in Berlin for Samsung to Commit to Clean Energy Or when we did this… Greenpeace activists in Berlin and Taipei called out Samsung for sponsoring...

Captain Crudeau's Colossal Mistake

Blog entry by Mike Hudema | May 30, 2018 2 comments

It’s unbelievable and it’s reckless. Yesterday the federal government poured $4.5 billion dollars of public money to buy Kinder Morgan’s failing pipeline and tanker project. $4.5 billion dollars for a project that violates the...

The Canadian government should not be writing blank cheques for a Texas oil-giant

Blog entry by Mike Hudema, Climate & Energy Campaigner | May 16, 2018 1 comment

Right now, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is thinking about using our tax dollars to bail out a Texas oil company’s failing pipeline and tanker project.   The federal government announced today that it's prepared to "indemnify" ...

Five Ways People Are Standing Up To Oil Pipeline Companies

Blog entry by Alex Speers-Roesch | May 1, 2018

All over the world, people are getting more concerned about the threats posed by major new oil pipelines. They’re prone to spills and, as a result, they’re a serious risk to clean water and the wildlife, ecosystems and communities...

Everything you need to know about the tar sands and how they impact you

Blog entry by Jesse Firempong | April 17, 2018

I f you could defuse one of the world's biggest carbon bombs, wouldn't you? Each day, our window for saving the climate — and the billions of lives that depend on it — gets a little bit shorter. While people all around the world...

Landmark climate bill moves to committee stage in Ontario

Blog entry by Keith Stewart | April 13, 2018

The march for climate justice took another step forward this week as the landmark  Liability for Climate-Related Harms Act  passed second reading in the Ontario legislature and is now on its way to committee for further study. The...

Go Back To Texas Kinder Morgan, You Are Not Wanted Here. People power gets the goods...

Blog entry by Mike Hudema | April 11, 2018

After one historic month because of strength of Indigenous leaders and the power of people we have a Texas based pipeline company on the run . On Saturday, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip joined with other Indigenous leaders, Naomi...

Standing up for the little guy: Climate liability legislation introduced in Ontario

Blog entry by Keith Stewart | March 27, 2018

Any politician who claims to stand up for the little guy should support the climate liability legislation introduced this week in the Ontario legislature. The Liability for Climate-Related Harms Act was introduced as a...

Faces of Greenpeace: Meet the people behind our resistance

Blog entry by Jesse Firempong | March 20, 2018

Greenpeace has been at the heart of the environmental movement on the Pacific coast, in Canada and around the world for more than 40 years. Now, just 20-odd kilometres from where we launched our first ship from Vancouver in 1971,...

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