Tar Sands Debrief

11 Dec

Hi Everyone: Today UWSP’s Tyler, Sylvie, Julia, Emily and Elaine attended the Canadian Youth Delegation meeting. Sylvie and Tyler have taken on a new task for spreading the word about Tar Sands in Canada. We will be printing questions such as “Why isn’t Canada pushing for an ambitious agreement at Copenhagen?” and “Why is Steven Harper opposed to Canadian action on climate change?” All of these questions that will be printed with a black tar stained maple leaf will (hopefully) be placed on every party seat in the Plenary and also on media seats – and actually everywhere possible! We want the global community to know Canada is embarrassing the people and not properly representing us on the international stage.

Here is a debrief to help you all better understand what the tar sands are and how they are TARNISHING our image. [This is taken from an email sent to me in order to have the proper knowledge when doing this project]

“Although only currently accounting for 5% of Canada’s emissions, the tar sands are the single largest contributor to growth in emissions and single largest source of projected new emissions. Tar sands emissions have increased more than 200% since 1990 and — if not regulated properly — will account for 12% of Canada’s emissions in2020, an increase of over 44% from 2006. Environment Canada has estimated that, per unit of output, GHG emissions from oil sands mining and upgrading are about five times greater than those from conventional light/medium crude oil production. They are the number one reason Alberta and Canada’s emissions are rising instead of falling….. with South Africa’s new emissions-intensity target that they announced last week, they have a more ambitious plan for reducing emissions than Alberta.

Carbon-capture and storage (CCS) is problematic for three reasons… (1) It is an expensive technology, both because it is new, and because it carries major energy and infrastructure costs. Not all areas have the suitable geology and sound regulation needed to minimize environmental risk. (2) CCS should only be considered as part of a portfolio of solutions,and adequate attention also must be paid to more sustainable, low-impact energy solutions, especially renewable energy and energy efficiency. Public investment in CCS must not come at the expense of the public investment needed to ensure a massive scale-up of energy efficiency and low-impact renewable energy production. For example, the federal government is not renewing the Eco-energy program for renewable energy and are spending 14 times less per capita on renewable energy than President Obama. While at the same time, the Alberta and Canadian governments have given over $2billion in CCS research, development, and deployment… this is “corporate welfare” for tar sands companies who are comfortably profiting… these corporations will then likely get the Intellectual Property Rights to this technology and then make even more while selling the technology to developing countries. (3) It will not significantly reduce emissions from Alberta’s tarsands. While it can reduce emissions from coal-fired power generation by90%, it will only reduce emissions from tar sands processing by 10% to30%. Alongside its contribution to climate change, the tar sands have significant negative ecological (particularly on water resources and boreal forests) and human/social effects (particularly on local indigenous communities). Industry does not currently have a way to deal effectively with tailings, the lakes of toxic waste produced from oil sands development. Tar sands production also requires substantial consumption of water and natural gas, consuming relatively clean resources to produce dirty, bottom of the barrel synthetic oil. Many indigenous communities downstream from the tar sands are being impacted adversely by tar sands development and have experienced adverse health impacts and disruption to their traditional ways of life. (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/oil-sands-emissions-polluting-waterways-study-finds/article1392239/) The CYD supports an immediate moratorium on further Tar Sands development (with support for affected workers) until its emissions profile, ecological consequences, and human/social effects are resolved.”

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One Response to “Tar Sands Debrief”

  1. Dave S December 12, 2009 at 9:31 am #

    I like your plan! Good luck Tyler and Sylvie

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