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Canada's Tar Sands (Unconventional Oil) During the last two weeks of his Presidency G W
Bush passed a raft of laws to allow the exploitation of the Canadian Tar Sands by US mining and oil corporations, despite considerable environmental opposition.
Costs of exploiting tar sands Benefits of exploiting tar sands
It is very expensive, only viable when They provide an alternative source of
oil costs over $90 a barrel. oil when conventional sources are
unavailable for political or access
reasons or existing fields cannot
It is very energy intensive; it takes By 2030, tar sands could meet 16%
the equivalent of one barrel of oil to of North Americas demand for oil.
produce three barrels of crude oil
from tar sands. This also means it
produces a large source of
greenhouse gas emissions.
It leaves behind a huge quantity of Mining companies are required to
waste sand and environmental reclaim land disturbed by mining to
destruction. offset the negative impacts
(however the reclamation lags behind
It uses a lot of water; taking 2-5 Oil is vital for the Canadian economy.
barrels of water to produce every In 2007, the oil industry accounted
barrel of oil. for nearly 20% of the total value of
The environmental impacts of mining
include the removal of trees, shrubs
and soil. 470km2 of boreal forest
have been removed (a large carbon
sink), and lakes of toxic wastewater
Mike Huldema, a Greenpeace Activist has said "the tar Sands are the greatest climate crime."
The Arctic a new "cold war"!
There are 8 countries which form part of the Arctic region:
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The environmental view
Greenpeace say: "Any country rushing for oil at a time of global warming is deeply irresponsible. Aside from the issue that they might ruin the pristine environment
of the Arctic region, countries should be competing in a rush towards renewable energy, not in a rush for fossil fuels.…read more
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Higher potential for oil spills with production storage and offloading (FPSO) vessels.
E.g. the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill (30th April 2010) in the Gulf of Mexico. It created an oil slick the size of Scotland affecting the area
economically as well as environmentally fishing and tourism industries have suffered in the Louisiana US state. It has been described as an `ecological
disaster' with wetland ecosystems ruined and endangered species affected e.g. sea turtles (which are on the WWF red list).…read more