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How much will tar sands oil contribute to global warming?

Note: The article below contains urgent, alarming information regarding tar sands.  The science makes it clear: If the tar sands are extracted and burned, averting catastrophic warming will be a hope of the past (if it isn’t already).  However, there are major issues with this article.  The author fails to include voices from communities impacted from extreme energy extraction, and supports false solutions like Carbon Capture and Storage, nuclear energy and market-based mechanisms to reduce emissions and extraction.  He even implies that Shell might be taking serious steps to “clean up” tar sands extraction.

Biofuelwatch recently released a report detailing the ineffectiveness of Carbon Capture and Storage in reducing emissions, from fossil fuels and so-called “alternatives” like biomass.  Only a massive reduction in consumption will stop the extraction of extreme energy, and that massive reduction is not going to be provided by putting a price on carbon.

Kandi Mossett, an organizer with Indigenous Environmental Network, was featured on KPFK Sojourner Truth show’s Earth Segment in November, where she discussed the impacts of fracking and tar sands on Indigenous communities.  The Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, who has been fighting to get Shell out of Alberta, is directly impacted from tar sands development.  There are real people and real communities behind the numbers presented in this article, and their stories need telling.

Its time to stop martyrizing the cautious white guys, and start taking leadership from the communities who have been fighting these projects – and the capitalist system that causes them – for decades.

-The GJEP Team

By David Biello, January 23, 2013.  Source: Scientific American

08sands-articleLarge-v2James Hansen has been publicly speaking about climate change since 1988. The NASA climatologist testified to Congress that year and he’s been testifying ever since to crowds large and small, most recently to a small gathering of religious leaders outside the White House last week. The grandfatherly scientist has the long face of a man used to seeing bad news in the numbers and speaks with the thick, even cadence of the northern Midwest, where he grew up, a trait that also helps ensure that his sometimes convoluted science gets across.

This cautious man has also been arrested multiple times.

His acts of civil disobedience started in 2009, and he was first arrested in 2011 for protesting the development of Canada’s tar sands and, especially, the Keystone XL pipeline proposal that would serve to open the spigot for such oil even wider. “To avoid passing tipping points, such as initiation of the collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, we need to limit the climate forcing severely. It’s still possible to do that, if we phase down carbon emissions rapidly, but that means moving expeditiously to clean energies of the future,” he explains. “Moving to tar sands, one of the dirtiest, most carbon-intensive fuels on the planet, is a step in exactly the opposite direction, indicating either that governments don’t understand the situation or that they just don’t give a damn.”
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Filed under Climate Change, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Hydrofracking, Indigenous Peoples, Oil, Tar Sands