Friday, February 24, 2012

Three Views on the Tar Sands from Revd. Ken Gray

 First, Archbishop Desmond Tutu is once again front and centre in a movement to draw attention to the ecological affect of increased tar sands expansion. 
Eight Nobel laureates including Archbishop Desmond Tutu have written to the prime minister to argue that oil derived from Canadian tar sands "threatens the health of the planet" and that the UK should support European moves to classify the controversial energy source as highly polluting.
The full article from the Guardian is here.

Second, internationally respected climate scientist Dr. Andrew Weaver from my local University of Victoria has offered a surprising view on the effects of tar sands operations.
One of the world's top climate scientists has calculated that emissions from Alberta's oilsands are unlikely to make a big difference to global warming and that the real threat to the planet comes from burning coal. "I was surprised by the results of our analysis," said Andrew Weaver, a University of Victoria climate modeller, who has been a lead author on two reports from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Full article with video links is here.

Third, a senior level Canadian bureaucrat may or may not have informed the Canadian Prime Minister about significant concerns around environmental risk factors issuing from amongst other practices, fracking in the Alberta Tar Sands.  This matter connects with other discussions on this list about fracking and transitional energy production strategies.
 OTTAWA, Canada — Collateral damage from Canada's booming oilsands sector may be irreversible, posing a "significant environmental and financial risk to the province of Alberta," says a secret memorandum prepared for the federal government's top bureaucrat.
The memorandum, released by the Privy Council Office through access to information legislation, also raises doubts about recent industry and government claims that oilsands companies are reducing heat-trapping gases produced by each barrel of oil.
The industry has suggested that a shift in oilsands extraction to use steam to remove synthetic crude oil from natural bitumen deposits on site can reduce land disruption and provide for reductions in energy and emissions

The full piece is here.

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