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The true cost of tar sands

 
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ujoni08



Joined: 03 Oct 2009
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Location: Stroud Gloucestershire

PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2011 9:50 pm    Post subject: The true cost of tar sands Reply with quote

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/20/canadian-tar-sands-and-oil-costs_n_929361.html#s332120&title=Syncrude_Upgrader_and

Quote:
The refining or upgrading of the tarry bitumen which lies under the Tar Sands consumes far more oil and energy than conventional oil and produces almost twice as much carbon. Each barrel of oil requires 3-5 barrels of fresh water from the neighboring Athabasca River. About 90% of this is returned as toxic tailings into the vast unlined tailings ponds that dot the landscape. Syncrude alone dumps 500,000 tons of toxic tailings into just one of their tailings ponds everyday.

Development plans are to increase the production of the Tar Sands up to five million barrels of oil within the next 20 years and industrialize an area of land the size of Florida in the process. While we still need oil to meet our energy needs, true energy security will not be achieved through the expansion of the tar sands and further entrenching our dependency on fossil fuels, but through the development of alternate sustainable energy sources and through all of us reducing our consumption.

This will be difficult but we need to do it for our children. Recently, on a rainy Friday evening as we prepared to pick up a video for our weekly family video night, I suggested we drive to the store as the weather was bad and my children were fighting the flu, it was my youngest child’s turn to choose and there is no way she was going to miss the trip. She looked at me with the shock and disgust only a four year old can really muster and implored, “Dad, don’t you know, under a mile, bike in style!”

In order for that to happen, projects like the proposed Keystone XL pipeline to bring tar sands crude to the gulf coast for processing, and the proposed Gateway pipeline to facilitate shipping it to Asia, will need to be approved.

While we still need oil to meet our energy needs, true energy security will not be achieved through the expansion of the tar sands but through the development of alternate sustainable energy sources and through all of us reducing our consumption. This will be difficult but we need to do it for our children. Recently, on a rainy Friday evening as we prepared to pick up a video for our weekly family video night, I suggested we drive to the store as the weather was bad and my children were fighting the flu, it was my youngest child’s turn to choose and there is no way she was going to miss the trip. She looked at me with the shock and disgust only a four year old can really muster and implored, “Dad, don’t you know, under a mile, bike in style!”

The Tar Sands, also known as Oil Sands, - if you prefer the public relations created term – are now Canada’s largest, and fastest growing, single source of carbon. At the same time, Canada has gone from being one of the first signatories to the Kyoto Protocol to now becoming an obstacle to international efforts to reduce carbon and our dependency on fossil fuel.

In terms of global warming, the impacts of the Tar Sands are multiple. The vast forests and wetlands of the boreal forest which they lie under, are considered the most carbon rich forest ecosystem on the planet. Storing almost twice as much carbon per hectare as tropical rainforests, the boreal forest is the planet’s greatest terrestrial carbon storehouse. To the industry, these diverse and ecologically significant forests and wetlands are referred to as overburden, the forest to be stripped and the wetlands dredged and replaced by mines and tailings ponds so vast they can be seen from outer space. So, as the expansion of the tar sands consumes more boreal forest and wetlands, it is releasing to the atmosphere all the carbon stored in this ecosystem. At the same time, we also lose the long term future carbon sequestration of these forests and wetlands. In turn, they are replaced by an industrial operation which produces almost twice as much carbon as conventional oil production.

However the global reach of the tar sands is even greater than that. Pipelines to the American Midwest and Texas pump this bitumen for refining there. In the process, these areas are will also be importing many of the toxic impacts of the Tar Sands to their jurisdiction. The building of the proposed Alberta Clipper and Keystone pipelines, will only increase this trend and the impacts.


Jon
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RGR
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2011 1:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

And your point is?

Last edited by RGR on Sun Oct 09, 2011 10:12 pm; edited 1 time in total
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kenneal - lagger
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Joined: 20 Sep 2006
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Location: Newbury, Berkshire

PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2011 1:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

RGR wrote:
And your point is?


A deep sadness at the futility and greed that drives it all?
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RGR
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2011 4:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="kenneal"]

Last edited by RGR on Sun Oct 09, 2011 10:12 pm; edited 1 time in total
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ujoni08



Joined: 03 Oct 2009
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Location: Stroud Gloucestershire

PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2011 5:20 pm    Post subject: My Point Reply with quote

Do you mean my point, or that of the author, Garth Lenz?

My reason for posting links to articles is simply to share what I've found, and allow some discussion to follow.

Jon
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RGR
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 3:45 am    Post subject: Re: My Point Reply with quote

ujoni08 wrote:
Do you mean my point, or that of the author, Garth Lenz?

My reason for posting links to articles is simply to share what I've found, and allow some discussion to follow.

Jon


Last edited by RGR on Sun Oct 09, 2011 10:13 pm; edited 1 time in total
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An Inspector Calls
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2011 9:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Seems to me they're making a good job of reclaiming the oil sands after exploitation:

http://www.golder.co.uk/modules.php?name=Newsletters&op=viewarticle&sp_id=114&page_id=1100&article_id=124

http://www.syncrude.ca/users/folder.asp?FolderID=5909

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-ykNmhH9Dc

I wonder: before they start extraction, do they strip off the biomass and then burn it as biomass? And then, when they plant new trees, think of all that deadly CO2 absorbed by the young, fast-growing trees.

And of course, by extracting the oil, they can then guarantee that no more oil will leach into the groundwater - and we don't want that do we? There's enough of that with fracing!

All-in-all, very eco-friendly!
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